Happy Sunday to you!
It's been a while since I posted a Sunday Snippet. Since I've been writing about Bennachie, here it is from Ineda's point of view in Book 3 of my Celtic Fervour Series of historical adventures - After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks. Ineda is trudging northwards seeking some Brigante Celts that she has heard have also been moving northwards, keeping themselves out of reach of the invading Roman Army.
See if you can recognise anything in my descriptions...of Bennachie... from the last few posts.
AD 84 After Imbolc – Balbithan, Taexali Territory
“Will we see Balbithan soon?” Ineda’s question broke the silence.
She trudged up the long gradual incline, near the head of the snaking group of people. With five others like herself, all displaced people, she journeyed north – three of them adults and two older children. The day was bitter cold, a light wind at the summit whipping up the edges of her bratt, the cool draught of air seeping into her backbone and sending chills all the way through her. It did little to encourage her to keep moving but she had been told they would reach the settlement of Balbithan within a half day. The days were lengthening but daylight hours were still limited, it being only a se’night after the festival of Imbolc. It had been well after daybreak when they had left the last village and she feared they would not reach the shelter they sought before nightfall.
The guide answered when he stopped at the crest of the hill. “Stand alongside and follow where I point.”
Ineda slid next to the lad. Though extremely cold the sky was a clear blue well into the distance.
It was a fine sight to behold the valley that spread below. Gentle undulations broke up the landscape, the view clear all the way to a rise of hilltops straight ahead. To her left, far in the distance, were much higher white peaks, the snow cover extensive.
The lad pointed to those far hills first. “The mountains of the Caledons lie there, but they are many days walk away in winter.”
Ineda looked to the peaks ahead. “And there?”
“The last peak to the right of Beinn na Ciche is The Mither Tap. The dark shadow that rings just below the snow tip is the old hillfort.”
Ineda suppressed a groan but had to ask. “Is that where we are headed?”
“Nay!” The lad’s laughter gurgled. “Balbithan is not nearly so far.”
“Oh, look! I can see smoke rising way over there.” One of the children almost jumped with glee as she pointed to the thin column of smoke rising above a deep clutch of trees, not too far to Ineda’s left.
“Balbithan!” The other child joined in the shout.
“Nay!” Her guide corrected the assumption. “That is only a hamlet over by Skene water.”
Ineda followed as his arm swung to the right in an eastwards direction till it settled, pointing to a heavily forested area. “Beyond that wood lies Balbithan. You cannot see it from here but the river from Obar Dheathain runs through those trees.”
There were some columns of smoke rising from there as well and, though it would still take a while, it was cheering to see their destination.
She slid into motion behind the guide as he started down the hill. “Have you heard of these Brigantes who are said to dwell at Balbithan?”
“Aye! Most folk hereabouts have heard tell of the one who sings and plays so well. I was not at our settlement when he visited but he proved very entertaining, or so the tale goes.”
Singing and playing? Ineda could not help but think of Bran. It had been some time since she had thought of the man she had given her love to so long ago. Bran had been such a fine entertainer. He had been so fine in many other ways too but she could not let herself dwell on that. Why she felt the need to find the Brigantes made her pause for thought. She decided it must just be a yearning for her origins, yet, something more seemed to drive her onwards.
In my writing of After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks I've used some recognisable names which are in existence today as written above. I'll write more about why I've done that in my next 'Bennachie' series post.
Have a lovely Sunday!