The Many Hauntings of Mary, Queen of Scots by Marie Treanor
Since I’m a Scot and tomorrow is Halloween, I was hunting around for a Scotish ghost story to entertain you with. And one of the things I kept coming across was the number of buildings in both Scotland and England which are apparently haunted by the ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Hmm…is it possible for the same spirit to haunt so many different places at once? She certainly had a turbulent life, so perhaps this simply carried on into death?
|Mary, Queen of Scots|
However, Mary is clearly a prime candidate for an unquiet ghost - several ghosts! – as well as other eerie phenomena which surround her story. Such as the bloodstain on the floor of Holyrood Palace that was suppose to mark the place where Mary’s secretary David Rizzio was murdered in front of her while she was pregnant. Some say the four hundred year old stain never comes out no matter how often it’s scrubbed. Others say it’s painted regularly to keep it bright. :)
Mary spent a lot of time imprisoned in English castles too, many of which also boast the presence of her unquiet spirit today. The most interesting haunting, though, is probably the Talbot Hotel in Oundle, which was built from some of the wood and stone from the ruin of Fotheringay Castle where Mary was executed.
So what do you make of all that? Could Mary’s ghost really haunt so many different places? Do spirits really travel the length and breadth of a country?
I grew up five minutes walk from the hill where Mary is reputed to have watched her side’s defeat at the Battle of Langside. Close by was the ruin of a castle frequented by bats. I used to imagine her ghost wandering among the weeds and broken stones. I never saw her, though perhaps I would have, if I’d ever been brave enough to go at Halloween… :)
Secrets don't disappear after seduction...
Elizabeth Silk is struggling to reconcile her passion for the vampire overlord Saloman and her allegiance to the vampire hunters. When a shocking vampire revolt calls Saloman away from her, she refuses to follow him.
To make matters worse, Saloman’s beloved cousin Luk has been found and awakened by one of his greatest enemies. Frenzied with bloodlust, Luk embarks on a killing spree and prepares to expose Saloman’s biggest vulnerability: Elizabeth.
But under Saloman’s regime, vampires have become less concerned with secrecy, no longer willing to hide their power. Rumors are swirling about attacks on humans. After Saloman joins forces with the vampire hunters to consolidate his power, Elizabeth begins to understand her role in the inevitable collision of the two worlds. She could bring resolution between vampires and humans—if she can manage to stay alive long enough to play both sides….
Set up: An Ancient vampire, believed to be Saloman’s newly awakened cousin Luk, has gone on the rampage in the Turkish hills. Elizabeth Silk is helping the hunters to track Luk and his allies…
Luk began to run, and as his limbs stretched out, he remembered their strength and what they could do. A surge of excitement urged him to speed up, to run around the entire world and never stop. But her scent was close and sweet, and as he leapt down the final fifty feet to land right in front of her, he grew dizzy.
Startled, the woman fell back, her dark hazel eyes huge in her beautiful face. Hair the color of a long-forgotten sunrise whipped against her soft cheeks in the breeze. Blood pumped through her delicate veins. The sound and smell of it drove him to new hunger, but this was one human he’d never kill.
“Tsigana,” he whispered.
The name held Elizabeth frozen. She’d had an instant’s warning from the Ancient detector, which suddenly, after indicating his slow plod away from her, went nuts, the readings obviously failing to keep up with the speed of the vampire who leapt out in front of her a bare instant after she’d known he would.
She’d had time to press her buzzer, at the same moment it had gone off in warning. The others knew. So she backed off, giving them time to get here, holding the stake poised for the vampire’s attack that didn’t come. He stood unmoving, staring at her.
The ordinary vampire detector in her pocket was still and silent. So the Ancient was alone. She prepared to attack, targeting the spot in his chest that she needed, but before she could fly at him, he said, “Tsigana.”
If he’d said her own name, if he’d called her Jane or Esmeralda or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she wouldn’t have hesitated in the slightest. But he said Tsigana, as if he’d seen straight to her one weakness, a jealousy that amounted almost to fear of the long-dead human woman who had once held Saloman’s heart.
Her fingers curled convulsively on the stake, altering its aim by accident, and she had to readjust it. The Ancient who was Saloman’s cousin, his onetime friend and his betrayer, one of Tsigana’s three vampire lovers, continued to stare at her. She had the impression that if he breathed he’d have been panting, but weirdly, she sensed no threat from him. He lifted his arms slowly, reaching out to her with intense, weirdly unfocused longing. Understanding slammed into her like a blow.
“I’m not Tsigana,” she said between her teeth. “I’m Elizabeth, the Awakener.” And she flew at him, aware her aim was true. She summoned every ounce of strength, every ounce of power she believed in. Because she didn’t know how long the hunters would take to get here, she had to try to do it alone, as she’d once tried to kill Saloman alone. She still believed she could have slain him, using her power as his Awakener, but she’d never found out for sure, because her heart, not her body, had prevented it. There was no such prevention here; Luk was the cause of most of the unbearable pain that had haunted Saloman for centuries. He was as good as dead, and she couldn’t even regret her lack of compassion.
But he didn’t wait for her. He leapt back so fast she didn’t even see him move. Her stake sliced through air, almost overbalancing her.
“Not Tsigana,” Luk repeated. He sniffed the air.
“Tsigana is dead.” Again she leapt, this time before she finished speaking, but again he evaded her. A howl rent the air, like a dog or a wolf in agony. It had to be coming from Luk, as his distant figure leapt back up the hillside at impossible speed, the bloodcurdling wail fading with him into the night. Not because he’d stopped crying, but because he was too far away to be heard.
“Shit,” Elizabeth whispered. With shaking hand she retrieved the Ancient detector from her pocket. The pointer indicated the hill up which Luk had vanished, the display counting madly as the distance increased. Then it went dead. Elizabeth delved for her phone, just as the needle swung rapidly several degrees to the west, and the display galloped forward.
Oh, hell, he’s doubling back. He’s gotten over Tsigana and now I’m dinner.
Marie Treanor has published more than twenty ebooks with small presses, (Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press and The Wild Rose Press), including a former Kindle bestseller, Killing Joe. Blood on Silk: an Awakened by Blood novel, was her New York debut with NAL.
In the Awakened by Blood series, Marie is delighted to be able to bring together her long-standing loves of vampire stories and Gothic romance.
Blog: Marie Treanor's Romantic Theme Party