Ancient slab steps passed beneath a blood-red arch of leaves where the brisk May wind tumbled and clattered. Among Yew and Holly, a small, stout chapel gathered moss about its old stones. Purple-tinted light limned the chapel crown here at Drum Castle, as it had for the past five centuries. A black mouth led inside to polished wooden pews, masterpieces of stained glass, and a silence that still echoed with the whispered prayers of the past. It had all been a gift from Robert the Bruce to the Irwyns of the 14th century.
Some power pulsed in the air and twisted my senses: the smell of warmth, the taste of verdigris, the sound of blooms, the feel of bittersweet, the sight of applause. There are places that hold past events as ghosts. Brief visions slashed my consciousness. White blossoms cantering across a blue sky. A couple, tight to one another, stepping from the chapel. Melodic notes of pipers and fiddlers softened by the overhung foliage. What claim could religion hold over a place so clearly rife with centuries of accumulated emotion? Joy and sorrow and vehement rage ruled together as one, and I dipped my head in deference.