Clan Baldie, a Two-day journey away from the port of North Leith, Scotland..., 1692
Bella Skye was in the back of her cottage collecting the new batch of herbs she would need to have on hand before winter came when she heard the ‘snap’ of a branch behind her.
Turning around in fear, Bella looked over her shoulder to see where the noise came from. She so hoped that it wasn’t, Angus trying to sneak up on her from behind. Her brother Rickard and his friends, always played like that ever since she was young. No one wanted to be chased and humiliated repeatedly when you were growing up, especially when you did no harm to anyone and just minded your own business. But alas, both Fergus, Angus, and Rickard made sure her young life became a living nightmare.
As the years flew by, Bella was able to learn to defend herself from their tricks, by setting up traps that her Granny taught her. She would only be bothered when she was called into the village to help nurse the ill or to bring the babies into the world.
Her childhood bullies ceased bothering her when an incident occurred with her Granny after she tried to save the Laird from a bout of sickness, that Granny Skye concluded was brought on by poison. Unfortunately, she was too late and the Laird died. The priest of the village immediately claimed Granny Skye to be a Witch because she refused to use the things the church allowed when in healing the sick. Granny Skye was more knowledgeable in the use of herbs and poultices, which the priest claimed was the knowledge derived from the Devil and that she was its bride.
The priest was so prejudiced to Granny Skye that he riled up the villagers so much that they took her into custody and burned her on a stake in the center of the village. Fortunately, Bella was away delivering a bairn and when she returned to her cottage and learned about the death of her Granny, Bella grieved deeply and desisted venturing further into the village.
Because..., she was taught the healing arts from her Granny and she had a talent in making people feel better, she too was accused of being a Witch as well. However, because she was the daughter of the late laird, she wasn’t persecuted as severely as her Granny. Some people accepted her help, whereas others shunned her. But thanks to her wicked reputation of being claimed to be a Witch, Angus and Fergus, and her conniving and evil brother, stayed far away from her because they feared that if they ventured too close to her, that she would curse them by placing hexes on their lives and families.
Even though she wasn’t bothered by them, she still looked over her shoulder every time she heard noises coming out of the silence of the forest. The sound of the branch being snapped brought Bella out of her thoughts, and hesitating from gathering her herbs, she turned around slowly and peered into the distance and tried to see if anyone was coming towards her.
From within the darkness of the forest, Bella swore she heard her name being called, but since she couldn’t see anything, Bella shrugged her shoulders and made her way back to the front of her cottage.
She was just starting to grind the herbs when there came to be a loud pounding on her door.
" Who is it?”
She asked. When no answer came back, she continued, grinding the herbs again. As she was just about to add another herb to the mixture, her door crashed open, and in its threshold stood a large injured man. Just then the man stepped through her doorway and collapsed on the floor.
Shrieking, Bella ran to the man’s side and began examining him, to see what caused him to render him still and immovable. When she saw the long gash that traveled from the base of his neck to the bottom of his hip, Bella gasped. Who could have done such a despicable act of cowardice? Hopefully, her skills could aid him, and not cause him to perish.
Praying for the strength she would need in saving his life, Bella asked her Granny for guidance in guiding her hand to patch up his wounds. As she was about to begin, she whispered under her breath to the unconscious warrior...” Please don’t die!”