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William Wallace the Brave Heart

Part Two-The Troubles Begin

Scotland needed a ruler.The only direct heir to the throne was dead and soon after 13 people had made their claims to the throne.It seemed that a civil war was inevitable but after much debate the choice was narrowed down to two men Robert Bruce the elder and John Balliol and the man who decide the outcome was no other than King Edward I.

Edward had boasted to his privy council that he would subdue the Scots and during one meeting to decide who would take the crown went into a rage when the Scots would not declare him overlord of Scotland.

Eventually however the decision was made and John Balliol was crowned as king but on Edward's terms which allowed for English troops to be garrisoned in Scotland,for tribute to be made to Edward and for the new king to declare Edward as his superior.

The Scots were none to thrilled and skirmishes broke out every so often.Loudoun Hill was the scene of one such skirmish in which William's father Malcolm was killed by an English knight named Fenwick.

William was outraged for his family was now in a dire situation,his people were being treated as second class citizens in their own country and his father was dead soon William would be pushed too far and take action himself.

Wallace was visiting Dundee and the English constable there whose name was Selby had a son who delighted in tormenting the locals with a band of his friends.The time came when he would challenge Wallace.

The young Selby's exact words to Wallace were "Thou Scot abide ; what devil clothed thee in so gay a garment?An Irish mantle were the right apparel for thy kind,a Scotish knife under thy belt to carry,rough shoes upon thy boorish feet." in so many words Young Selby had insulted William's appearance and demanded that William give him the attractive knife on his belt.

Wallace gave it to him straight through the heart.Soon after he was branded an outlaw and fled to Riccarton but trouble found him there too.One day while fishing a band of English knights demanded William's catch but Wallace retorted saying that the fish was for an elderly knight.The leader of the five knights told William he could continue fishing but Wallace told him that he was in the wrong and that he had every right to fish there.The English knight didn't like being talked to that way by a Scot and attacked William but with one good strike to the jaw William knocked the knight to the ground and snatched his sword gashing his neck and as two other knights attacked William he dispatched one with a slash deep in the collarbone and severed the sword hand of the other.The last two knights fled to seek help from the local English constable a man named Percy but the constable laughed saying they weren't worth avenging if one man took them all down.

Meanwhile John Balliol was not getting into Edward's good graces he secured an alliance with France who at that time was in a now and then state of war with England.In the town of Berwick a band of English sea merchants had been murdered by a band of renegade Scots and Edward wanted revenge and so led an attack against Berwick that led to three days of unheard of atrocities.Men,women and children all were slain by the English in ways brutal even for the times and one report states that Edward even witnessed one of his soldiers killing a woman while she gave birth.After three days the English had killed 20 thousand citizens and annexed the city to England.Balliol immediately sent Edward a letter declaring that their allegiance was over the letter was seen as a declaration of war.

Edward appointed Hugh Cressingham as treasurer of Scotland and made his headquarters in Berwick which was being rebuilt as an English city.Scotland was trapped in a war it could not win defeats in Dunbar,Jedburgh,Edinburgh,Stirling,Perth,Aberdeen,Banff and some parts of the highlands told the tale.July 2nd 1296 Balliol surrendered to Edward.Edward had Balliol exiled and took the Stone of Scone to Westminister Abbey (some say that a band of priests hid the real stone) Edward now declared himself King of Scotland.

It was close to this time that William had come to the aid of a boy who was being accosted by English soldiers but the English managed to capture him and placed him in a dungeon to await trial but while in jail Walace became deathly ill.The day of Wallace's trial had come but he was found in his cell in a deep coma brought on by fever the soldiers thinking him dead dumped William into a dung heap but he was found by a former servant and nursed back to health.

Wallace made his way back to Riccarton and met with his uncle Richard where tales of his deeds spread soon he was joined by his cousins and men of the area around his uncle's estates and soon he would make his first bold strike not as an outlaw content at nipping at Edward's heels but as a guerilla fighting a war for freedom and his first true mission against his enemy was to avenge his father's death.

 Part Three-Wallace Rises 

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