Keep #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

keep

 

It may surprise you, no doubt, but I am still here. Yes, in this old keep. It has been my home, all these centuries, since the fatal siege that killed most of my people. Well, most of them, not all. You see, below the keep is a long tunnel. Its access could be easily blocked. At the other end is the sea. We had plenty of provisions, all the weapons we could use, we survived for years. As you can see, from here I could look at the traitor, over there, in what was our tower. One clear morning, that was before we collapsed the entrance to our domain, I killed him, one careful shot from my longbow. Ha ha! That was a kick in the ants nest. They tried everything, water, fire, poison… It was too late for them.

So, you may well ask. What did we do all these years? Well, you know your history, or rather what they, and their ‘historians”, told you. The usurpers stayed. We occasionally went out and killed a few of their mercenaries, but this was hopeless. The people were terrified. We lived from fishing, a little hunting, which was more dangerous. My companions died, one by one. I held their funeral at sea, during the night. Finally, I was on my own. More years passed. I am still here. I don’t think anyone can see me, but I have no idea what I look like, now. By the way don’t trust those images of me in museums: I know they made me look awful. As they say, the victors write history, and have pictures made of their victims.

Not that I see myself as a victim any longer.

Web #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

armour

 

Reaching this corridor had taken time, and my companion and I were exhausted. When was the last time human beings had visited these walls? We had to decipher puzzles, and pick complicated locks. We had lost our way many times, fearing to fall through some traps, and crash down to deep and horrific dungeons.

The surface of the armour was a dull grey, a thin dust covering those parts not hidden behind the cobwebs. Was this a sentinel? Or a witness, to the horrors that had closed the house to posterity? We thought of the Commendatore, the victim of a terrible crime. The man, or should we say the creature, who had worn the armour, was tall, and rich. The exquisite finish of the metalwork, the still luxurious leather of the joints, all showed this was a work of art, brutal, signalling the strength and power of its owner.

The corridor was dark, only faintly lit by a distant window. The same thin dust covered walls and the carpeted floor. The solicitor had not not known the details of ownership, merely that the property was for sale. For a fortune. There was a large park around the house, century-old trees. And many works of art inside, he’d said. The owner, whoever, or whatever that was, had not yet allowed visitors. We’d taken on ourselves to have a look.

There was very little furniture, but some ancient prints on the walls. The air was dry, not stale, as if, somehow, fresh air was sometime allowed to penetrate the house. We decided to take a look at the prints. A few steps away we were looking at a delicate drawing… of the same armour, with a text we could not read. We heard a faint noise, a light friction sound. There was now way this was possible…

The high helm, which must have covered the skull of the knight, was now turned toward us.

Blade #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

wales-164

 

He remembered an old science fiction story, set in the Middle Ages of a world in a far-away galaxy. The hero’s weapon is a sword, its blade honed from a single crystal. This was different. The jade colour of the blade, its transparency, made the material uncertain, implausible even. Yet it was there, the celtic hilt, the cross. The elaborate work of the pommel hinted at a late period, perhaps at the Renaissance. But he knew it was much older. He knew when it had been forged, and the name of the sword smith.

But he could not remember where the furnace was.

Honour #writephoto

Honour

knight

 

The small crypt was still in darkness  as we approached, on that frozen morning of January.  Every year, on the same day, we gather here, on this desolate hill.

As usual, we were silent, as all of us know the place, the rite, the reasons. Besides, had we anything to say we would have done it, without words.

This year, we noticed the trace. Footsteps, in the fresh snow. Our horses noticed also the scent. The scent of a woman. We are rarely surprised by anything. But we were… intrigued.

We dismounted and followed the small path. A crow, perhaps too young to know, or remember, took fright and disappeared in the deep forest.

Our leader gave the sign. In our minds the words of the litany formed:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer…”

Our leader pushed the door open. In ranked order we entered the crypt.

“Fear is the little death…”

As we knelt on the ancient slabs, around our lord and liege, we saw the rose, and the message.

“And when it has gone past me, I will turn to see fear’s path…”

She was here, not that long before us.

The witch, she remembered. Her scent…

“Where the fear has gone there will be nothing…”

Our leader stood up, then we followed him, and drew our swords.

We let our blades rest on the stone, a faint ray of light illuminated the rose.

Our leader bowed. We left the crypt, one by one, leaving him alone with his brother.

Outside, we, wraith knights, waited.

The snow fell.

We prayed.

Every year, on the same day, we gather here, on this desolate hill, since our lord passed away, and we brought his body here, all the way back from the Holy Land.

“Only I will remain.” 

 

 

Beneath #writephoto

Beneath

P1020805

 

The ancient oak ponders unfathomable tales; near the bank, the shallow water reflects the evening sky. A little further the small stones shine, enticing: come to us, stranger, we are worth more than gold… Soon the sun will sink, behind the hills. You observe, immobile, waiting. Your steed, warped in your Lord’s colours, is as still as you. Silent dwarves guard your precious luggage. This is your land, and the lake is where lived  the mage, he who knew how to read your future.

Our Lady #fivewords

Weekly Writing Challenge #171

8e3689c67d

 

In the ancient church, on the medieval stones, he kneels. Alone, far above, a live star shines, cold as mystery. In the choir, the founders smile, bright egos. There is no plan, no heresy, merely the link, back, to our Lady. In silence he kneels…

Picture: from https://www.naumburger-dom.de

Wer war Uta von Naumburg?

A novice #fivewords

Weekly Writing Challenge #167

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Their clear voices rose above the valley, as the bell called the novices to practice. They were there to serve, to prepare for the day when they might be accepted, but none of them had any clue as to what they would have to endure.

Picture: South Portal of Chartres Cathedral, Martyrs, By Medieval sculptor – photo TTaylor, 2005, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=888289

Arch #writephoto

Arch

arch

 

For centuries the great abbaye had stood, in its majesty and glory, in the peaceful landscape. It was then a centre of faith and science, where wise men worked, and kept the flame of civilisation burning. They were frugal, up in the frosty mornings before dawn, ploughing the fields and teaching the children; their chants filled the vales and forests, rising to the sky.

Then the heretics had come, plundering, burning, torturing the faithful. A dark veil had fallen on the earth, the Dark Lord’s reign had begun.

But today, in the faint light of dawn, I can hear the monks’s voices, the soft footsteps of their sandals. I sense their presence, their curiosity, even, about this strange creature, this human being who survived the fall. Their anthem is but a light breeze through the icy air.

The arch stands, witness to a millennium of folly. And there, on the cold stones, I kneel, praying to the true God, in submission and piety, the last, shivering survivor of the war, that ended the evil empire.

Dedicated to the builders of the great abbayes of Yorkshire, and their defenders.

Portal #writephoto

Portal

portal

 

It was so easy: he just had to follow the narrow corridor, and, as the dwarf had said, it was there, the portal of ancient stones, and beyond, the warm glow of the vast chimney.

He stopped and looked down at the medieval floor, polished over millennia by the feet of so many pilgrims. Behind him he would be leaving his own time, the overflowing world, the menacing floods. In front of him, he knew was the vast kitchen, the monks in black robes, the penitents. He too would be on his way to the holy city, and they would recognise him for who he was, another brave and tired worshipper from the west, from the cold.

He would sit in front of the burning fire. He would pray. He would have their blessing. He would be invited at the big table, and, after grace, would enjoy the communal hot soup. He would later fall asleep, under a warm blanket, and before dawn, after mass in the small chapel, bare feet, would resume his journey, with thousands of others.