Mary, sister of Robert the Bruce.

Mary Bruce joins us today. Pay attention or you might lose your way amidst the maze of draughty corridors, deep within Turnberry Castle’s early morning gloom …

“So you want to know my story? Walk with me for there is much I must do. Don’t dawdle and gawp! My brother, Edward, is waiting for me down in the stables. Robert’s away ─ he loves to hunt, but he’s too busy to join us as usual. He left hours ago: off to manage the Bruce estates, a task which will take him clear across Scotland and down into England. I mind not. He grumbles overmuch and tells me I must listen to my elders! All he and Grandfather ever talk about now is how Scotland must have a Bruce on the throne and Robert is destined to be king, no matter how hard the fight nor how long. I would go to war with them, but they do not want me, even though I can outride most men and my arrow eye is keener than most! On and on, their talks run into the night, when they should be feasting on the hind that we brought home from the hunt.

The stables are this way! I love the teeming warmth. Mind that stinking pile over there and see those stallions, walk too close behind them and you’ll be kicked clear into next year if you don’t take a half a care! Here’s my grey beauty! Rides like the north wind; jumps higher than the moon …

Edward’s not about ─ still wenching, no doubt! Pass me the brush, and I will tell you a few tales while we wait. You asked me about my life here. If I had to be cooped up in our solar, embroidering this or that gown with my sisters, learning Latin or unraveling some useless Greek conundrum with old Dughlas, our tutor from the abbey, I would go mad.

I know the best routes out of the keep, can run fast and low, and sneak back later in the day ─ to a mess of trouble usually. I pay scant heed, and do and say as I will! Words run off me like rain off metal. I am a Bruce and none shall forget it! Most times, you’ll find me down here or over with the great hounds; hunting with my goshawk up in the hills or practicing bow and sword down in the bailey with the castle garrison. Always looking for trouble, so Father says! He threatens me with the dungeon; tells me I must hold my tongue, but then his eyes crinkle with the hint of a smile for he sees much of Mother in me. God’s blood, I miss her, dead this past year! A daughter of Carrick and as forthright and brave as the wildest Pict but simmering with mischief, she was! Edward and I always made her laugh and our antics set the household talking.

Now the only talk is of war and what lies ahead. The wailing pipes stir our hearts, and the drums sound their blood-beat across Scotland. King Edward of England looms over us. People tremble at his shadow for he is a mighty warrior, wily too, but I am not afraid. I am ready for whatever comes …”

3 thoughts on “Mary, sister of Robert the Bruce.

  1. E.Cameron says:

    Hey cool!

    • Elspeth says:

      I felt like I was there with Mary in the stables, getting to know the family through her eyes, and feeling her frustration at being expected the take a limited interest in warlike matters.

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