A Letter from the Past

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A Letter from the Past

Emmaline hummed softly as she lifted the bundle of pages from the shelf, instinctively weaving magic to ensure the fragile sheets remained intact as she transferred them to the desk. Dust puthered in the air. She turned her face into her cowl, avoiding breathing in the muck with practiced ease. The archive had been neglected for far too long. Many of the documents within were threatening disintegration, whilst others had faded beyond legibility. It was a situation that put her talents to good use.

Even before she’d lost Raen, she’d been fascinated by the historical records that mouldered within the dimly-lit rooms. After her husband’s disappearance she’d allowed her work to consume her days – leaving only when her eyes grew too weary to read and her mind too weary for thought.

With deft movements, and a few more woven spells, she opened the bundle and spread the pages before her. Only to stop, confused, by the array of life-like images revealed. She frowned. That couldn’t be right. From the condition of the items, and the appearances of the captured people within them, she’d have said they were hundreds of years old. But as far as she knew, the magical weaving used to create such images had only recently been developed. Her husband’s friend, Hendin, had spent over a decade developing the pattern for such captures. She’d never heard of anything similar existing in the past.

One page, covered in writing, stood out from the others. She lifted it free, curious to discover whether an explanation was contained within the faded text. It was possible, she supposed, that another person might have developed such a weaving, only for it to be lost to history. And if they had, then any pictures they’d captured would be invaluable sources of historical information.

The last thing she expected to see was a letter addressed to herself, written in a familiar, elegant script. Her hands began to shake. She dropped the page back to the desk, staring in breathless shock. She’d long since given up hope of ever seeing that handwriting again.

“Raen,” she breathed. Tears filled her eyes as she ran trembling fingers over the sheet. How could this be…? She bit her lip, blinking away tears, and began to read.

My dearest Emmaline,

I can only pray that this letter is someday reaching you, and that I have not been absent from your life for too long. My circumstances at present are unusual to say the least. My intention is to place this missive, and an accompanying set of captured images, within the city archive, as I know that your recent studies have led you to shelves there that have been untouched for centuries. If fortune smiles upon me, no other hands will touch these papers between them leaving mine and reaching yours.

Fortune, however, has not been smiling upon me of late.

As you know, my own studies have been in the development of weavings through which we might observe the history of our land. My intention was to simply observe reflections of events upon the mirror glass. If only that was all I achieved. Somehow I have managed to transfer myself into the very history that I wished to observe. Unfortunately I am not entirely certain as to the exact time I am in. Nor do I know how to make my way home. I have already tried to recreate in reverse the weaving that led to my current circumstance. I have not yet been successful, though I will endeavour to continue my efforts.

My darling, I can only wonder how long it has taken you to find these pages. For myself, I have been here for a span of mere hours, but I know only too well that days, weeks, months, maybe even years, might have passed since I vanished from your life. If you have ever cared for me as deeply as I care for you, I pray that you take the images I’ve captured to Professor Kalaen, as well as to anyone else you know of who might be able to help. Kalaen’s research has always followed along similar lines to mine. I’m certain he will not have hesitated to make use of my notes in my absence. If anyone can work out how I moved through time, it will be him. I am hopeful that if you can pinpoint the exact date I am in, a way could be found to bring me home.

The images I have captured are views of the people I have seen around me today. Hendin will be pleased to know that his technique works, though I’m not certain as to how the pictures will survive the passage of years. I know that I am at least five, possibly six or seven, centuries prior to our own time. The University has not yet been built. I would guess that the language being spoken is Old Ilraian. There is little influence of the Jakrian tongue, which also places me before the Imperial Conquest. This is not a time period I have studied in any depth. I am currently hoping that you know of at least one person within the University with the knowledge to discover the exact date from the images.

I place my fate within your hands, my love,

Eternally yours,

Raen Ki Masrah

Emmaline dropped the page back to the table, her hand lifting to cover her mouth as shock and hope warred in her. For over nearly seven years she had wondered. Was he dead? Had he left her for another? No trace of him had ever been found. No explanation for his disappearance. Now…

Now the possibility that she could maybe see him again was more than she could stand.

Excitement thrummed through her, setting her pulse racing as she gathered the pages and hurried out if the archive. Raen had suggested she find Professor Kalaen. She didn’t plan to waste another minute before doing so.

TBC

This story was originally intended to be just a short piece of flash, simply an accompaniment to the pictures from the Lincoln Joust that I attended during the summer. Somehow it managed to take on a life of its own!

I’ll try not to take too long before posting the next segment. Unfortunately, I’m not the quickest writer in the world, and I tend to edit multiple times (and that’s an understatement) before I’m happy for anything to be read by anyone else. Part two may be up sometime in the next week, but I’m not promising anything!

I hope you enjoyed the read.

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WPC: Graceful

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History’s enigmatic weight settles, cloak-like, upon your shoulders as you walk beneath the graceful arches. The weathered stones may be mere remnants of times past, but still they stand, elegant and proud, marking the route along which devout men once walked. As the wind dances around the columns you can almost hear the sound of male voices raised in prayerful song, their worship resonating down through the ages…

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This post is for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is graceful.

The photo was taken at Fountain’s Abbey – the ruins of a Cistercian monastery near Ripon in North Yorkshire. The entire site, built out of richly golden sandstone, is beautiful to photograph, but I found the arched walkways running alongside the nave particularly graceful and attractive.

Cee’s B&W: Silent Guardian

arthur-statue

embodied

in resolute metal,

he watches

from the rocky heights,

forever awaiting his call to arms,

a silent guardian

poised

in enigmatic grandeur,

the once and future

mingling

of legend and history

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This post is for Cee’s Black and White Challenge. This week’s theme is things made by human beings. 

The pictures were taken at Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, and are of a statue called Gallos, which is the Cornish word for ‘power’. The statue was inspired by the legends of King Arthur – who, it is said, was conceived at Tintagel – but it can also be seen as a representation of the old kings of Dumnonia, a kingdom of the 5th and 6th centuries that stretched across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. It is thought that this dynasty made Tintagel the site of their summer court.

If you’d like to know more about the statue, there’s an interesting article from The Guardian that you can find here.

CWW: Ancient Paths

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Meandering path,

following a

well trodden route.

To whose doorway

do you lead?

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This post is for Cee’s Which Way Challenge. This week’s pictures were taken at the Chysauster Ancient Village in Cornwall (England), the remains of an Iron Age settlement thought to have first been occupied nearly 2,000 years ago, during the Roman occupation of Britain. The village contains eight to ten houses, each with an interior courtyard surrounded by a number of rooms built into the walls. Best of all – and why I can use the pictures for this post – you can even see the stone paths leading up to many of the doorways that the ancient inhabitants would have walked upon.

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I hope you like them.

Echoes of my Neighbourhood: Welcome to the Greenwood

This post is for Jacqueline’s Echoes of my Neighbourhood. This week I’m sharing pictures from one of my favourite places – the home of Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest.

Major Oak

The Major Oak

Growing up in Nottinghamshire, Sherwood was a place we visited regularly, on both school trips and family days out. Tales of Robin Hood were instrumental in developing my love of the medieval period, something that I later studied at university. On this occasion, however, I don’t plan to merely share pictures of the forest (although I do plan to do so at some point). Last weekend was the yearly ‘Sherwood Through the Ages’ event, a gathering of reenactment troops depicting life from various points in the history of the forest. On the day we visited the groups were all from times during the last 1000 years. Their camps were set up all along the Major Oak path.

5 ye olde medieval shoppe

Ye olde medieval shoppe

First were the many medieval groups, all focussing on different centuries. These included King John and his Knights from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, a group of the Knights of St John, the Bowden Retinue and also a group from during the Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth century.

Each reenactor played their part with great energy and enthusiasm, whether they were royalty, knight, peasant or even one of the dreadfully diseased lepers, whose jangling bells informed people of their presence.

Next we encountered Scots from the seventeenth century Jacobite Rebellion and some highwaymen of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, looking for travellers on the Great North Road as it passed through the heart of Sherwood.

At the end of the trail were a final two more recent groups – one from World War One and a second from the Falklands War of the 1980s.

The camps and the characters within them were not the only attractions of the day. During the afternoon, in a clearing by the Major Oak, several groups put on displays. These were quite hard to photograph as the participants were moving around the area so quickly, but I did my best. 🙂 First we watched a duel between two of the Jacobite soldiers – a ‘gentleman’s disagreement’ as it was called.

Next was a tournament hosted by King John. Even one of the lepers joined in, hoping the be granted the healing touch of the monarch.

The tournament was won by a mysterious knight in green – yes, Robin Hood also made an appearance! After the tournament the Jacobites returned to the arena where they battled with their enemies, the Scottish supporters of English rule.

To finish off I thought I’d share one of my favourte shots of the day. Whilst most of the reenactors tried to stay in character (and period) as much as possible, a few anachronisms could be found. I doubt medieval Arabian knights would have eaten ice creams!

49 Ananchronistic Arabian Knights

I hope you all enjoyed the post. If you’d like to know mkre about and its history, check t Millie Thom’s post, here.

Unfortunately I’m unlikely to be back on the blog for a little while as I’m off on holiday tomorrow and we’ve been warned that the internet is unreliable where we’re staying.

I look forward to catching up with everyone when I get back!

Echoes of my Neighbourhood: English Civil War Re-enactment

This post is for Jacqueline’s Echoes of my Neighbourhood, a photography challenge that asks you to share a selection of photographs from around your neighbourhood. This is the first time I’ve joined in with this challenge and I’d originally intended to share pictures from the village. Last Sunday, however, having a rare weekend day free from work, I accompanied my parents into Newark-on-Trent, the nearby town in which we lived for most of my childhood. On this day, to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the Royalist surrender of the town to Parliament on the 8th May 1646, during the English Civil War, the Sealed Knot re-enactment group paraded from the Castle to the Market Place and recreated the events.

Here, in a completely random order, are some of my photos from the day:

If you’d like to know more about the history behind these events my mum, Millie Thom, has written one of her fascinating historical posts about them that you can find here.

I hope you all liked the pictures. I’d love to know if you have a favourite!