The stone bridge. Here, Ruth saw him away to war.
He'd held her, breathing promises of tomorrows together. She'd plucked one lacquered scale off his armoured coat, the loose scale he'd never mended, close by his heart. But the one. "You'll not miss one." His kiss stopped her mouth.
So many tomorrows ago. He and legions fell beneath rains of arrows, a feast for birds.
Laughing children. Rushing past old Ruth on the bridge who'd never wed. She knew the whispers. None knew she chose her punishment. As ever clutched her keepsake, now a roughened stone in her withered hand.