By P. C. Doherty

As evening units in, Chaucer’s weary pilgrims locate themselves in a Kent copse, rumored to be haunted. Huddling round the fireplace, they convince the Clerk of Oxford to inform a ghostly story of affection and loss of life that may additional relax their blood...

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For Beatrice this was a splendid day; the sky seemed bluer, the grass greener, the bluebells more magnificent and the air rich with the sweet smells of early summer. Beatrice had raided the oak chests, taken flour and baked bread and pastries which were now in her wicker basket protected from the flies and heat by a damp linen cloth. Today she would have her own celebration. The Constable of the castle, Sir John Grasse, his wife Anne, Father Aylred the chaplain and Theobald Vavasour the physician were to join her and her beloved, the clerk Ralph Mortimer, for a meal on the castle green.

The clerk stared across at Sir Godfrey. ’ He eased his legs. ’ The Clerk’s Tale PART I Chapter 1 Ravenscroft Castle stood on a small crag, a brooding, rocky presence not far from Blackwater River outside the town of Maldon in Essex. Ravenscroft had been built in an age when God and his saints slept, when Stephen and Mathilda waged relentless civil war. It was built for both defence and attack with a square donjon, or keep, soaring up to the sky, defended by a lofty curtain wall and rounded towers.

Someone had closed her eyes. Beatrice gave a loud scream and sank to the cobbles. All she could think of was Ralph. All she wanted was to hold his hand and tell him how much she loved him, how she wanted to be his wife and they would live for ever. Now that was all gone. They were walking away as if she was no more. ’ she whispered. ‘Oh, Lord Jesus, Holy Mary! ’ The souls of the departed, weren’t they whisked off to Heaven, Hell or Purgatory? Isn’t that what Father Aylred had preached? Yet nothing had changed.

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