In the spring of 1296, King Edward of England invaded Scotland. One by one, castles and abbeys fell into English hands, threatening Scottish sovereignty. On a brooding sea-cliff battlefield above Dunbar, Scots of all kith and kin fought valiantly but could not withstand the English onslaught. Acrid smoke and coastal fog shrouded the bluff from the rocky seashore below.
Thirteen-year-old squire Adam fell in behind the Scottish archers. Smoldering, rain-soaked thatched roofs stung his nostrils as he rode ill-prepared into the fray. Suddenly, a streak of blinding light deadened the roars and anguished cries. The thunderous ground fell silent; the metallic stench of blood-soaked wool, splintered lance against leather, bludgeoning morning-star mace, scattered flesh, and cold-eyed stares; they all faded into darkness—nothingness, weightlessness.
— The Häling and the Scottish Templars (p1)
The horrors of war in Scotland were NO fantasy in the summer of 1296 when the invasion was made official. King Edward of England and his henchmen had been infiltrating Scotland’s crumbling dynasty for more than a decade sewing discord. Infighting among Scottish nobles created cracks in previously sturdy lines of defense against foreign intrusions that the Scottish people had assumed would remain fast forever.
Weakness in leadership had distracted nobles into betraying the people’s trust. By simply removing a few threads from the fabric of medieval Scottish society with the absence of intelligent leadership, the mantle of safety was rendered vulnerable. By spring of 1296 the tipping point came. With allegiances confused, Templars fought each other in the names of the monarchs they contracted with. Young boys became men on battlefields before their time. Scottish families were slaughtered in the wake of English ‘berserker’ rage.The eastern coastal port of Berwick was the first to fall, with casualties in the thousands. Then came the Battle at Dunbar, where our story begins.
Chapter ONE of the Häling and the Scottish Templars opens with 13 year old Templar Squire Adam de Dalrymple laying injured in the mayhem of the Dunbar battlefield. His parents had not intended for him to be drawn into such traumatic circumstances beyond their control, but they had silently and carefully prepared for the worst back at Dalrymple Wood.
We, who live in the 21st century, can take lessons from mistakes of complacency and destruction leading to unrest and the hierarchical oppression by unscrupulous men. We would be wise to remain vigilant against such tyranny. It walks among us even today, sapping our vitality, distracting us from building a better world, and being our best selves.
Do we succumb to the distractions of technological inundations, or do we consume news intelligently? Do we give our power over to institutions without considering their motives behind the directives? Or will we think for ourselves with integrity and broad perspective? Will we take responsibility for our choices and stop giving in to hypnosis of the masses? If we do not, then we are complicit in the demise of all that we assume will last forever. Scotland learned the hard way, but those who kept the flame of liberty brining paved the way for the Declaration of Arbroath years later.
The Häling and the Scottish Templars is Book ONE in the Temple Chronicles series that explores ways of growing up spiritually in a world that does not inherently value spiritual maturity. No wonder it begins on a battle field, which is a strong metaphor for the struggle for one’s soul. The clearer we read the situations we find ourselves in, the sooner we can extricate ourselves from those in our lives that do not have out best interests at heart and create stronger bonds with those in our lives who DO!
Let not only our hindsight be 20/20… let us see clearly in the present!
You can buy your copy of The Häling and the Scottish Templars HERE