After the coronation ceremony Dorell came up to me."Show me the ring," he said, "the one you got from Bruce." Without a word I showed him the ring. Dorell's reaction surprised me. He held the ring as if (как если бы) it
was the greatest treasure and for a moment his eyes became warm and kind. "We need to talk," he said quietly. If I live to be a hundred years old, I'll still remember every word of our conversation.
"You've done a good thing, Douglas, because you've returned us the ring of our clan."
"What ring? Our clan doesn't have a ring." "Do you remember our clan motto?"
"Yes. I do. It's Fight for the ring! Fight with the ring! Fight in the ring! But I have always thought that the word "ring" means the ring of brothers and sisters, all the members of the clan."
"That's not quite right. Five centuries ago our clan had a magic ring which protected and guided us but it was stolen. Since then we had been waiting for the return of the ring. Now you have it and our clan will rise again." "Thank you for your kind words, Dorell."
"Don't thank me yet. I have bad news for you too. You have taken that ring from someone who needs it more than us. The future of all Scotland is in Bruce's hands. If he is killed, there'll be no hope for our country."
"Let him have it back if he wants it."
"He won't take it back. He doesn't want to break a promise. So you'll have to go with him and protect his life."
"I'll do no such thing! I won't risk my life for Bruce, a murderer."
"Oh, don't worry about your life. The person who wears the ring will never be killed."
"How do you know?"
"There are a lot of things that I know and you don't. But one day, you'll find out. You'll remember me then."
These were the last words that Dorell said to me. I wasn't going to see him again, but I couldn't know it then on 25 March in the year of Our Lord 1306, as I packed my things.
As soon as the English king, Edward, found out about the coronation in Scone, he sent new armies to Scotland. Bruce decided to fight, but he had no support from the Highland clans, his army was too small. The English beat us at Methven and we had to go into hiding.
We lived the lives of outlaws: picked up branches and made forest huts, slept on animal skins, ate berries and fish. There was no place in our country where we could feel safe. Then we fought again and lost another battle. Every year it was worse. As time went by, Bruce sent his family and friends away to safety, but it didn't help. Three of his four brothers were executed and his wife and sister were captured by the English.
I stayed with Bruce. Though we didn't become friends, I changed my opinion about him. He was intelligent and well educated. He spoke Gaelic, English, French and even Latin. He loved his wife and brothers and worried about them. When he learned the terrible news about them, he was ready to give up. So I was right about him. He wasn't a real patriot, he thought only about himself.
On Midsummer's Day, 24 June 1314, on the field of Bannockburn Bruce was waiting for the new English king, Edward II. He was coming to Scotland with the biggest army that an English king had ever led. When we saw the army a distance, it was the most beautiful and most terrible sight. Fifty thousand men in shining armour were moving like a dark shadow.
I looked at Bruce, but couldn't understand the expression of his eyes. Was he going to pay homage to the enemy or was he going to fight? Suddenly he got off his horse and knelt. My heart fell. Everything was over. "Why are you kneeling? Are you going to ask for forgiveness?" I shouted angrily "Yes but I am asking it from God, not from the English king," Bruce smiled. Then he turned to his army and shouted: "The future of Scotland will be decided today If any of you is not ready to win or die, leave now". At that moment thousands of Scots drew out (вынули) their swords and prepared to fight
It was a great battle where we won, and the English king ran to save his life After the battle of Bannockburn Bruce and I became friends. For me he was the rightful King of Scotland and a hero. Probably Dorell was right about him after all (в конце концов . Years passed and I stayed with King Robert the Bruce. Together we fought and won many battles, and many times I saved Bruce's life. Dorell hadn't lied: the ring saved me from the enemies' arrows and swords and I never had a scratch.
Finally, in 1320, it was clear that the war was coming to an end. All the Scottish nobles gathered at Arbroath and signed the Declaration of Independence. On that day Scotland declared to the whole world: "For so long as one hundred of us remain alive, we shall never submit to the domination of the English, for it is not for glory we fight for riches or for honours, but freedom alone which no good man loses but with his life."
When we were celebrating, a young man came up to me. "News from Scone " he whispered. "What's happened?" I asked. "Your grandfather, Dorell MacWizard, has died. You must leave for Scone as soon as you can That was your grandfather's last wish."
The next day I was at home and prepared everything for the funeral At midnight I came to the sacred trees in the middle of the forest "Hail to our ancestors!" I started, "Hail to our children!" Normally during the ceremony he whole family repeated these words after the senior Druid, but all my family had been dead for years. "Hail to our mysteries," I continued "Hail to our mysteries!" voices around me repeated. I couldn't believe my ears' Was it the wind in the trees? I looked around. The spirits of all my ancestors were around me. Their hair and clothes sparkled with silver in the light of the moon. "Hail, the last MacWizard of the clan MacWizard," they said "Your grandfather is with us in Summerland. He was a great Druid. Are you ready to do your duty?" I didn't know what to say. "What duty are you talking about, ancestors?" I asked, "There is no duty anymore. We have lost Lia Fail and our clan is dishonoured." "You are wrong, young MacWizard," came the answer, "and now is the time for you to learn the truth. Four hundred year ago when Kenneth MacAlpine put the sacred stone on Moot Hill, a prophec was made,
"Unless the fates shall faithless prove, And prophet's voice is vain, Where this sacred Stone is found, The Scottish people shall reign."1
"But the stone is now in England," I whispered. "Does that mean... coul that mean... that soon the Scots will reign in England?"
"You are clever, young MacWizard, your grandfather will be pleased whe we tell him that, finally, you have understood! Yes, the Scottish kings wi rule England one day. The prophecy has started to come true. Your fami] is connected with the stone. You must wait and when it's time to act, you' know."
The spirits of the old Druids disappeared. I was alone in the forest and on the ring on my finger felt strangely warm.