Echoes From The Past – Episode 38


Holly appreciated that he didn’t feel it appropriate to go into the details of the patchwork. In any case, Fiona was clearly not that interested in another female, even one who was sitting at Daniel’s desk. She gave Holly a cursory glance and an artificial smile, but her attention was clearly focused on Dan.

Dan carried on.

“I thought Holly was a wedding planner the first time we met, didn’t I, Holly? We’re getting quite a name as a wedding venue, incidentally.”

“I’m not surprised,” Holly said politely. “It’s a beautiful place.”

She clicked off the gardens, and returned to the screen saver.

“Fiona sometimes helps out on the waitressing front,” Dan explained, at which Fiona looked slightly piqued. She would have preferred a nobler title.

Holly covered her amusement, and nodded.

“I’ve done a bit of that in my time, especially at college. It’s always useful to have an extra skill, isn’t it?”

“Don’t tell my mother that.” Dan laughed. “She’ll enlist you as soon as look at you.”

“In that case, you’d better not tell her that I’m particularly expert with trays of champagne glasses. It’s not easy, you know. I’m sure Fiona will agree.”

“I’ve never found it difficult at all,” Fiona said, turning slightly away. “So, Dan, is Anne at home? I’ll maybe just touch base with her.”

Holly thought she saw Dan bridle briefly at the familiarity, but he was distracted by the door opening again. The elderly man Holly had seen before came in. It looked as if he was the head gardener, and that Dan was in some way letting him down.

“It’s OK, Eric. I’m on my way,” Dan said, ushering Fiona out of the door and turning back to Holly.

“I must get back to my aunt.” Holly smiled. “Thank you for showing me the gardens. They’re lovely. Very distinctive. I haven’t closed down the computer.”

“Right. I’ll make sure I get it right this time. Nice to see you, Holly.”

****

The English army was massive. As Thomas rode with Sir William in the midst of the cavalry, behind Gloucester and Hereford, he wondered how imposing they must look to the Scots army. The Scots were still emerging from the New Forest and looked to be a much smaller force.

In front of them, just ahead of the cavalry, was a solitary man on a small saddle horse instead of the expected battle steed. Thomas thought he could make out a coronet round his helmet, which would mean that this was indeed Robert Bruce, but he did not look at all regal. Thomas fought down the disloyal thought that Edward didn’t look particularly kingly, either, and concentrated instead on what was going to happen when the two armies eventually met.

Although Gloucester and Hereford were vying to be first in the field, it was not either of them that broke ranks. A single horseman, lowering his lance as he galloped towards the Scots, revealed himself to be Sir Henry de Bohun, intent on covering himself in glory.

There followed then a scene that no-one who was there would ever forget.

Sir Henry made straight for the Bruce, his lance level, his horse flowing at speed across the ground. The figure of the Bruce remained steady and unmoving, a stationary target that Sir Henry could not possibly miss.

Thomas found himself enthralled, watching what looked like an inevitable disaster for the Scots. The Bruce waited and waited, until, seconds from the encounter, he moved his little horse to the left, stood up in his stirrups, and raised his battle axe. In one swift move, the axe split Sir Henry’s helmet and his crown. King Robert returned unscathed to his knights, who chastised him for his rashness.

Thomas could not believe what he had seen. What kind of king was this? The comparison with the English Edward could not have been more marked. Such a king as Robert deserved a bigger and better army – one that wouldn’t be crushed at the first assault, as this one certainly would be.

 

 

lucycrichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 150 years of 'Friend' fiction!