One and the same.
|In the Borders, fought over by Scots and English massive, honey-coloured stone castles crown hills with solid keeps, thick walls and cross-shaped arrow slits. Now they are crumbling, hollow teeth, where tourists collect selfies. Yet, in those moments between a child's shriek and a parent's admonishment, ghosts linger.
On a day of grey rain Allie sought shelter in Warkworth, home to Harry Hotspur. This day, visitors were few and phantoms crowded. She could hear cries in Old English, the scrape of sword in scabbard, the odour of unwashed bodies filled her nose. In a roofless room, where raindrops made diamond lines along worn masonry, Allie closed her eyes.
It was a solar, roofed with smoke-stained timbers from a fire that burned softly in the wide hearth. Tapestries, worn, but rich with silken threads hid the harsh lines of cold stonework. Straw palliasses were thrown across stone seats and wooden benches, in turn covered with colourful cloths. By a window, its shutters thrown back to admit light and crisp air, a woman sat, spinning yarn on a drop bobbin.
In her mind, Allie moved closer. She was a lady of high birth, with clothes of embroidered fine linen under a russet tunic of the finest wool. Her hair, pale blonde by an escaped lock, was gathered up under a white, linen cap. Her fingers worked automatically, teasing strands of wool from a ball, twisting them to be wound around the whirling spindle. All the while, she looked out over a rain-drenched forest, tears making a lace of grief on her cheeks.
She looked up. Their eyes met. And Allie knew that she had been this young widow, six hundred years ago. Then it was all gone, as if it had never been. The wet ruins of a time long past.