1 August 2011

Torc of Moonlight - Introducing Characters - Alice

My guest today from Torc of Moonlight, is student Alice Linwood.

Hi. I’m at the University of Hull studying History, or ostensibly studying History. I was lucky; I had a choice of offers – Hull, York or Durham, but Durham’s a bit far out and when I visited it didn’t feel right. My parents made me put in for Cambridge, you know what parents are like. The atmosphere was appalling when I turned it down but, as I explained to Nick, I needed somewhere within easy travelling distance of the North York Moors to continue my research, and it simply can’t be done from the south of the country. When I take a First, it’ll mollify them. A bit. Well, it’ll have to do until I write my paper. Perhaps that will mollify my tutors. They don’t think that re-discovering a shrine to a Celtic water goddess a suitable subject for my final year. The atmosphere wasn’t very good there, either, but I’m determined. I’ve held this dream too long.

I became interested in history when I was very young, seven or eight, I think, maybe earlier. There were burial tumuli near to where my parents live, and I used to wonder what life would have been like for the people who built them. Short and hard is the answer to that one, not romantic at all, but those mounds fed my imagination and over the years my imagination was tempered by research. I didn’t have many friends and my parents encouraged my studying. I had an open account at a bookshop at one time. Well, they thought I was becoming obsessive, narrowing the period down to the late Celtic, Romano-British period, but you see, I knew something worthwhile was in my grasp. You’re not the only one to ask if I believe I’m an empath. The notion is ridiculous, of course it is, but I was impressionable, and if the question is asked enough a person is bound to wonder if there’s some truth in it, aren’t they? Ridiculous, of course it was. Anyway, that’s all in the past, my past. Very fluid, the term history. In ten minutes that is just what this conversation will be. History.

Hull? Oh I knew the moment I opened its brochure and saw that the on-campus residences were named after Romano-British sites in the area. The Parisii were here, you know, had an organised ferry system across the Humber before the Roman legions ever arrived to stamp their civitas on Brough. That’s the point, it’s what I can’t get over, that everyone hails the Romans for bringing roads, towns, their ubiquitous under-floor heating as if the people here had been living in caves. One of my teachers even told me that the invasion brought civilization to these islands. Can you believe that? Talk about propaganda!

I’m sorry, I can get carried away sometimes. A shrine to a water goddess near Hull? No, I’m not looking so close. I mean, there will have been some, just look for Christian churches named All Saints for deified water courses. No, it is the wild land above the Vale of Pickering that draws me. Malton museum has a lot of artefacts from its Roman fort Derventio. That’s the beauty of the landscape up there, it hasn’t been urbanised to the same extent. There’s so much still to see in the landscape. There was a lot of Roman activity up there, far more than there should have been considering it wasn’t good farming. They obviously had to be there for a reason. And during the Norman period religious houses were built in a line ringing its western boundary; all so very close together. I always thought that odd, but it’s not my period, and you can only do so much.

Nick’s been a great help to me, field trips, and other things, though he knows nothing about the period at all. He won’t mind me saying that. We’re as alike as chalk and cheese; I really don’t know what it was that attracted us. I do worry about him, though. He’s very laddish at times, and he always seems to be getting injured playing sport. I worry about him, I worry how I’m affecting him. He seems to be losing his friends. Leonard Harkin? Isn’t he one of the site’s gardeners? Yes, he built a pond outside the door to my residence. We chatted a bit. I remember because there’d been a peeping tom at the rear windows, near my window – ooh, not nice, is it?  He said he’d report anything unusual to the university authorities. I never heard any more though. You've not heard anything, have you?

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