The cathedral bell tolled from its tower, beckoning weary travellers to rest. It had been the landmark guiding Rob’s course for some hours and he knew that somewhere in its shadow a young woman was waiting. Thoughts of Anne had kept him going, urging his mount to keep up a ground eating pace over the frozen ground. He had to see her even though the news he carried burdened his soul.
As he let the exhausted animal walk over the bridge, he could see the failing sunlight catching on the River Wear so it gleamed like a dark satin ribbon looping around the high ground dominated by castle and cathedral. Snow-burdened rain began falling in heavy drops. Some found their way past the collar of his cassaque and down his neck, the rest were oiling the cobbles to a dull gleam beneath the hooves of his horse.
A strong smell of good Newcastle coal filled the dusk as behind the closed doors and shuttered windows of the houses lining the narrow street, wise folk kept to their hearths. But Rob was feeling far from wise as he pushed his tired mount the last hundred yards up the hill and into the Market Square where the welcome warmth of an inn awaited them both. Tonight he needed rest, his wounds were sore and aching in the cold, but tomorrow he must find Anne and tell her what had happened to her brother.
That there had been a battle and he wouldn’t be coming home.