For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt. Another one that was obviously intended for my WIP. I haven’t got to the end of the story yet, but since it’s history, we know how it ends more or less.
Aoife never thought she would come to love him. It had been a marriage to seal a bargain, the price her father paid for the Norman’s help. Diarmait had won his war and the Norman had wanted paying. Yet from such an inauspicious start had blossomed more than she had ever imagined possible, so much more than the passion that had existed with Art. She had ridden into battle at Riseárd’s side, defended his title though it was her own brother who defied him. In their time together she had been wife, lover, mother, counsellor and confidante. And Art had never forgiven either of them.
He would not have wanted to be buried in the cathedral, but Henry had insisted. Richard Earl of Pembroke had been one of the foremost of his barons, he’d said. He must be buried with all the honours due to his rank. She had demurred, because the dead are dead, and she had to look to the living. So here she is, to tell him that the Quinns are making trouble once again, and once again she is preparing to defend Cappamore from their raids. She tells him that his Leinster lands are all safe, and Henry is keeping Pembroke from the jackals for Isabel when she comes of age.
They have come to an arrangement about Pembroke, the white lady of the lake and Aoife. No male issue will ever have it. The female line will always prevail. She places a kiss on the stone brow, so little like the living brow she had so often kissed. She gathers up the white lilies that she always finds strewn over Riseárd’s likeness and puts the luxuriant blooms, damp with dew, in a vase by Riseárd’s head, not in the side altar, Evienne wouldn’t like it. A final gesture before she leaves, to meet the death that Art will send her— on his heart, she places a single red rose.