Friday, 29 January 2016

If Adventure Comes Your Way - Fragment Fifteen

Fifteen? Are we seriously already up to that? I could just make you all sad and say "More than halfway through!" but I'm so nice and won't even mention it.

A while back I tagged Sarah for the Lovely Blog Tag and she was exceedingly good and did it within a week! And now, just to make her feel special I have decided to temporarily bring a favourite character (that I wrote) of hers into the story...she's from a completely different story and I'm not going to give her much to do, but she'll be there for a short time. Sarah, you'll know who I'm talking about. :)

Sorry to all those who haven't read my WIP novel - The Bridge of Anskar, I'll just say that the two random characters are good guys and (to satisfy curiosity) their real names will be mentioned at the end of the post.

Option three was voted in (which is lucky because that one was the only one that I thought might possibly work for bringing in the random characters)...but on the unlucky side my head is really sore. In other words...I whacked in on the desk a lot of times. The Fragment was stubborn. Very. 
Thus my head is sore. 

“Who are you?” Maree gasped, blinking her eyes to clear her head.

“It might sound crazy to say this, but I’m not actually allowed to tell you,” a young voice replied near her ear.

Maree tried to twist around to see her companion but another wave of dizziness swept through her. The combination of pain and shock worked together and she knew no more.

Maree woke to the sound of lowered voices and crackling flames. She lay for a minute, not wanting to move. The bed under her was soft and the blanket warmer than any that she’d owned before. 

“I think she’s awake,” a voice said, a different one than belonged to her rescuer.

Maree blinked her eyes open. She found herself staring at a dark roof flickering with firelight. A young woman’s face came into view, and Maree stared in fascination.

A long fringe of brown hair hung over her bright green eyes and a long, pale scar ran from above her left eyebrow to the corner of her mouth. A wide grin split her face when she saw Maree awake. 

“Oh, it’s great you’re awake. We were beginning to wonder if you were okay. How are you feeling?” she asked, her voice foreignly accented.

Maree tried to speak but found her mouth was dry. The girl offered a mug of water. “Here, this might help,” she said.

Maree drained the water and tried again. “Noot to bad,” she answered, her voice finally responding. She sat up, wincing as pain shot up her shoulder. The room was small but homely, the firelight danced over the contents, illuminating them and leaving them in shadow in turn.

A man sat in a chair by the fire but other than him and the strange girl, there was no one else.

“Who do ye be?” Maree asked.

Her rescuer chewed her lip. “As I said before, we’re not allowed to tell anyone. can call if you like. And him – he’s my brother, by the way...can be James for now,” she shrugged. “Sorry. What about you?”

Maree hesitated by sensed that the girl was telling the truth. “Maree Freespirit,” she said, emphasizing the ‘Freespirit’.

“Pleasure to meet you,” came the cheerful answer.

Maree rubbed her forehead, thinking about Hacaz and his soldiers. Someone had to stop him. “Do you be havin’ any connection with the keeng?” she blurted before she could think any better of it.

‘Ana’ shook her head. “Sorry, we’re not from here, we come from...across the sea. Currently we’re just here to sear—” she stopped suddenly, clamping her mouth shut.

“We’re just visiting,” James put in, rising from his seat. “We’re heading back in a few days.”

“Why do you ask?” Ana tilted her head to the side, curious.

Maree lifted a shoulder – making sure it was her uninjured one – in a tired shrug. “Jest in case,” she replied. In another moment she asked, “Why did you save me?”

“Aww, that?” Ana shrugged. “It was nothin’, I’d been spying on the soldier’s camp and I saw that you were in a little trouble so I thought I’d lend a hand.”

Ana looked into her eyes but Maree avoided her gaze, knowing that her feelings were clearly visible. “What dey es eet?” she asked suddenly, looking up.

“Two days since I found you,” Ana said. “Thursday’s today.”

“Don’t you mean ‘today’s Thursday’?” James replied with a raised eyebrow.

Ana punched his shoulder, screwing up her nose at him. “You were unconscious for two days and half a night,” she continued, turning back to Maree.

Two deys, Maree thought, they’ve bin...deid for two whole deys. Tears threatened to overflow but Maree blinked them back. Nia, Jonny, Ellie, Freya, Sam, Anita, Tilda an’ Dael. They all be gone, and there ain’t nothin’ ye can do. She took a deep breath; she still had a job to do. She had to prevent it happening again.

Hacaz couldn’t succeed.

Maree tried to stand but Ana put a hand on her shoulder. “You’re to stay right there,” she said firmly.

Maree shook her head. “Ye dinna—”

Ana narrowed her eyes. “I don’t know exactly what is going on right now, but there’s something between you and those soldiers. They’ve searched this house once already, and getting seen by enemy soldiers wasn’t on my job description. I have certain experience in these kind of matters and I know that it is not a smart plan to run off to save the world after being unconscious for two days.”

James grinned. “Trust me, she’s had personal experience with that particular situation.”

Ana grimaced in return. “Aye, I have that. If I could give you one important piece of advice that I’ve learnt in my career it would be this: Don’t rush off if you’re injured. The world’s not about to blow up without you and it’s doubtful that anything is going to happen in another two days. It would be much better to wait until you were properly – or at least more so – healed.”

Maree released a puff of air. “But me shoulder dinna be hurtin’,” she protested.

Ana nodded exaggeratedly. “Course it’s not,” she remarked sardonically. “And I suppose you’re perfectly fit to go tramping about with no food or bed or anything?”

Maree slumped her shoulders, giving in. “I’ll stey for a while eef ye put eet thet wey,” she said reluctantly.

“I most certainly do,” Ana replied hurriedly.

Maree settled back down on the pillows, sighing heavily. Ana yawned and moved away, Maree followed her with her eyes. Her clothes were of very strange style; a green cape – offset to one side, black leather leggings and boots, a tunic of the same and worn over a full sleeved, white blouse. A long sword hung from a weapons belt at her side.

James was dressed in a more familiar fashion, with a heavy tweed jacket, flannel shirt and wool pants. 

Maree wondered vaguely what their real names were. The soft sound of the fire soothed her and she soon fell asleep. She didn’t wake again until morning.

Maree stayed with the brother and sister for another two days but they parted ways on the morning of the fifth. Ana and James headed west towards the sea, and Maree went north, following the direction Hacaz and his soldiers had taken...

“An’ so, I followed ‘em ‘cross half o’ the coontry, tryin’ me beest to stop Hacaz. I coold niver git into the keeng’s court so I geeve tryin’.” Maree shook her head slowly. “Thet was near two years ago noow.”

I remained silent. In the light of Maree’s past, my own adventures in the last week could barely be considered mildly interesting. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.

Maree turned to look at me. “Dinna worry,” she said. “I’ve ‘bout come t’ terms weeth eet. I miss ‘em soome toimes though.”

I laid my hand on her shoulder. “I’ll help,” I said. “Now that I know, I can help you get to the king. Surely he’d let me in. All we have to do is get there.”

Maree smiled faintly. “Ye be right there,” she replied. “Jest a noice run across the coontry with a bunch o’ soldiers on oor treel.”

“Why has it taken Hacaz so long? Couldn’t he have just gone right and kicked out the king in the first place?” I asked, frowning.

“He’s gathering forces,” Jack spoke. I jumped, forgetting for a moment that he was there. “He’ll get onto the king’s good side and then quietly dispose of him, probably making sure that he signs the paper that says Hacaz is to be his heir.”

I pressed my lips together. “So we’ve got to warn the king that Hacaz isn’t a good heir?”

“Eet woold be better to tell heem all of what Hacaz be plannin’,” Maree said. “Then we ‘ave t’ see eef ‘e beleeves us.”

“And if he doesn’t?”

“We theenk up a deefernt plan,” Maree said steadfastly.

A small bird flew into cave, its tiny wings wet and bedraggled. It huddled on the stone ground and watched us. I stayed as still as I could so it wouldn’t fly away again.

It may have stayed but for a shout from far below us.

“Up there!”

At the sound it jumped into the air without hesitation, disappearing into the misty rain.

I realised what had been shouted and looked at Maree. “Run?”


1. Maree shook her head slowly. “There be no back door,” she said in horror.

2. “Run,” she agreed.

3. She was frowning and peering out of the cave entrance. “Jest weet a moment,” she said. “Somethin’ dinna be quoite right.”


There, just as I promised. No more depressing-ness.

Here are the real names of 'James' and 'Ana': Eumin and Leonora! (The other names were just the first ones that popped into Leonora's head at the time) They are friends of the main character in The Bridge of Anskar so they play a fairly major role. Sorry that you don't really know much about them. :( If I was in an optimistic/dreamy mood I'd say that I may publish it some day...but at other times I feel sure that that is 'not this day'...
Looking forward to your comments.

Fare Thee Well!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Brotherband Book Six: The Ghostfaces

Okaaay, so this post has taken a while in coming because I've been slack on my 'Ranger's Apprentice and Brotherband new books Watch' so I only recently (as in, about half a month ago) found out more than slight rumors.

Here is the cover...

Meh, no cover yet, but I'm sure it'll turn up soon enough (and quite possibly I'll do another blog post on it). 

But here is the synopsis. This'll probably change and be refined slightly before the release date but it's all I've got so far.

(Wait for it...)

When the Brotherband crew are caught in a massive storm at sea, they’re blown far off course and wash up on the shores of a land so far west that Hal can’t recognize it from any of his maps. Eerily, the locals are nowhere in sight, yet the Herons have a creeping feeling they are being watched.

Suddenly the silence is broken when a massive, marauding bear appears, advancing on two children. The crew springs into action and rescues the children from the bear’s clutches, which earns them the gratitude and friendship of the local Mawagansett tribe, who finally reveal themselves. But the peace is short-lived. The Ghostfaces, a ruthless, warlike tribe who shave their heads and paint their faces white, are on the warpath once more. It’s been ten years since they raided the Mawagansett village, but they’re coming back to pillage and reap destruction. As the enemy approaches, the Herons gear up to help their new friends repel an invasion.

In this sixth book in the action-packed Brotherband Chronicles, the Herons find themselves in unfamiliar lands and prepare for battle with a ruthless, unknown enemy.

It sounds kinda interesting and strange at the same time. Also sounds just slightly similar to stories about Leif Erikson discovering America...Hmmm, I wonder...

I'm really looking forward to reading it though. But wait! I haven't told you the release date! There are slight conflicting resources on this point. Random House Australia says that it's in May but other places say June...I'll just go with the May one 'cause Random House is the publisher so if they don't know I'll start getting worried. (Also, the June one might be American but I really dunno.)


That is the hopefully, maybe release date of Brotherband Six - The Ghostfaces!!!

Read this series everyone, I'm telling you for time, but you really should. 

I also discovered here that apparently there's going to be another book about Will and Maddie and at least one more prequel. I reckon there should be something about Gillan's apprenticeship, because that sounds extremely amusing...
Anyway, I'm keeping a half-watch for the cover and will hopefully do a post to show you all what it looks like. Anyone else dying (not literally) to read it? And, if not dying, really looking forward to it?

Fare Thee Well!

Friday, 22 January 2016

If Adventure Comes Your Way - Fragment Fourteen

Being sick really sucks.


Having an epic water slide is pretty fun, but getting sick isn't. Playing 'Human Hungry Hippos' is also fun, but getting sick isn't. Pointing and laughing at people playing other crazy games is fun, but getting sick isn't. Even getting a rope burn across your eye is funner because then you can at least pick off the scabs later on, but getting sick doesn't even have that positive side.

Getting sick is just plain Not Fun.

As you may have gathered from the previous sentences I have been sick. (Not fun.) I dunno why, but I got sick for some reason and (guess what!) it wasn't fun. Getting sick is never fun. Unless of course it's just before a dentist appointment and that has to be cancelled. That's fun (fun for being sick, not fun like epic water slides or anything like that).

So, on to more cheerful topics, I'm sure you (all you who don't already know) are wanting to find out what song it is that I listen to every time I write this. I mentioned it several months back and now I will finally reveal to you the song! It is... *dramatic drum roll*

"Superheroes" - The Script

There we are. Now you know. Apparently it can get really stuck in your head after listening to it for hours on end...or so I've been told. The crazy thing is that I can finish writing and go away with a completely random song in my head, but my sisters will have this stuck in their heads for the rest of the day.

Option three was the favourite this time, with only one vote for anything else. Enjoy!

Maree stepped forward, grabbing the woman’s shoulders. “Why? Why are ye sorry?” she demanded, her eyes wild.

“The soldiers,” she sobbed. “I told them to hide…they found them…I’m so sorry.” Ma Greey buried her face in her hands.

Maree’s heart went cold. “Where be the others?” she asked urgently.

“When I saw the soldiers coming I – I told them to hide in the hay loft,” Ma Greey said through her sniffles. “B-but the soldiers looked there and – and they—” A wail broke from her lips and she hid behind her hands once more.

Maree stood, her face blank, trying to grasp what it all meant. “Are ye sure?” she asked numbly.

“You can check if you like,” came the muffled reply. “I haven’t dared to hope.”

Maree ran around the back of the house, dread fueling her speed. She scrambled up the ladder, vaulting over a pile of hay. She fell to her knees, staring hopelessly at the flattened mark in the hay left from where her siblings had been.

A red spot of blood on the hay held her gaze.

One single tear dripped down her nose.

“I’ve gotta find ‘em,” she said aloud, trying to keep her voice steady. Maree returned to the farm cottage and found Ma Greey sitting at the table, sniffing.

“Which wey did they be going, Ma Greey?” she asked, laying a hand on the woman’s shoulder.

Ma Greey looked up. “They went...East,” she managed, wiping her eyes.

“How loong ago?”

“At least an hour,” she replied.

Maree nodded and turned to the door. Ma Greey caught her tunic in her hand. “You can’t go after them, lass, they’ll catch you too.”

Maree looked back and shook her head. “I have to go, ye dinna be understandin’, I jest have to.” Her anguish showed in her eyes. Without waiting for an answer she slipped through the door.

Forgetting her former exhaustion, Maree ran through the dawn, heading toward the lightening eastern sky.

She pressed on as the sunlight flooded over the grass. Higher it rose and Maree’s speed dropped off her until she was barely doing more than walking. On the point of collapse, she saw the distant figures of soldiers.

Hacaz’s men were on the move again, leaving the Freespirit farmhouse deserted. Maree cared not for her own safety, she’d been told to look after her brothers and sisters and that’s what she was going to do.

A man yelled a warning and soldiers turned to see a running figure coming toward them. A command was shouted and they went to meet her.

Maree didn’t resist when they grabbed her arms, twisting them behind her back. She needed to find out where the others where.

The tall lord of Sean Iister approached with long strides. “So,” he drew out the word, relishing it thoroughly, “The runaway returns.” He rested his hand casually on the hilt of his sword.

Maree scowled at him. “What did ye do with them?” she demanded.

“Do with who?” Hacaz asked innocently.

Maree clenched her jaw, refusing to answer.

“Hmmm, let me wouldn’t be asking about the animals, or the farmhouse, or the contents, perhaps the bodies I suppose,” he faked a frown of deep thought. “Oh, would you be talking about the scrawny little kids that we discovered last night?”

“Aye,” Maree burst out through gritted teeth, tugging away from the men holding her. But their grip was tight and didn’t slip.

Them?” Hacaz shook his head slowly in mock sadness. “I’m terribly afraid to tell you this, but we seem to have lost them.”

Maree knew that he didn’t mean they’d escaped. “What did ye do?” she said fiercely.

“They took a liking to the river while tied to a couple of rocks,” was the blunt answer. Hacaz smiled ruthlessly. “Dreadfully sorry, were they of some importance?”

Maree stared at him, all her brothers and sisters, every one dumped into the river to drown? Little Nia was barely two, and Jonny and Ellie weren’t more than three and four. How could anyone be so...heartless?

Hacaz watched the face of the young girl, waiting for the inevitable breakdown. A flash of something showed in her eyes but was quickly concealed.

Maree focused on breathing, as long as she could do that it should be fine. Hacaz had to be lying, no one would do something like that. No one. Not even Hacaz. But if that were so, where were they?

A stray thought crossed her mind. “But why?” she asked.

Hacaz frowned.

“Why would you do this?” Maree continued, her confidence growing.

Her captor’s face darkened and Maree saw a light of madness in his eyes. “The world killed her,” he said. “I will kill them back.”

Maree opened her mouth to say something but stopped as Hacaz went on.

“It is only fair, do you not think? If she dies, everyone deserves the same. And when I am king the whole world will know the bitter taste of death. I lost my love once, the world will lose theirs a thousand times more.”

Maree’s heart stopped beating. Standing in front of her was not a man scheming against a family or a town. Hacaz wanted to kill the world. He’d already started, in fact.

And she was the only one who knew.

The shring of a sword being drawn from its scabbard drew her from her horrified thoughts. “Now that I’ve told you that,” Hacaz snarled. “You cannot be allowed to escape. Get ready to say hello to your family.”

He levelled the sword and her, preparing to drive it forward. Maree knew that she couldn’t afford to die. The world couldn’t afford that.

She closed her eyes to conceal the tears that threatened to overflow. Bidding a farewell to her family under her breath, Maree allowed her legs to collapse.

The sword plunged forward but the sudden movement saved her life. Blood streamed from a deep slice in her left shoulder and Maree cried out in pain. She threw herself to the side to avoid a mad swipe from Hacaz’s blade and wrenched her arms from the soldiers.

Maree ran blindly through the soldiers, dodging the attempts to secure her again. Lord Hacaz roared in anger behind her and the sound forced her on faster.

Her feet pounded on the ground and her breath came in gasps. The soldiers had horses, they’d remember shortly and use them to run her down. Maree swallowed and ran faster. She couldn’t be caught now.

Hoof beats pounded the ground behind her.

Maree heaved in a lungful of air. No chance, ye be havin’ no chance, her mind told her but she shook her head and ran on. She’d keep going as long as she could.

The river appeared in front of her, and Maree dashed along the bank, splashing through the shallow ford without hesitation.

In moments she was on the far side, but the horses were following her through the water. With an aching glance at the water that had taken the lives of her siblings, Maree dived into the trees on the far side.

Her arm throbbed and sticky blood ran down her arm. Maree knew that she’d have to stop the blood flow soon or she’d lose too much.

The sound of a horse in front of her made her heart skip a beat. Surely they couldn’t have gotten there that fast. A wave of dizziness washed over her and she grabbed onto a tree to stop herself from falling over.

A chestnut horse crashed through the trees and Maree had no time to move before a hand reached down and dragged her upwards, pulling her onto the front of the saddle.

Maree tried to pull back but one gloved hand wrapped around her, preventing her movement.

Her vision blurred as the horse spun on the spot and charged off in the direction it had come from.

“Who are you?” Maree gasped, blinking her eyes to clear her head.


1. “They call me Sir Creighton.”

2. The reply did nothing to calm her beating heart. “My name is of no importance, my master will decide what to do with you.”

3. “It might sound crazy to say this, but I’m not actually allowed to tell you,” a young voice replied near her ear.


Apologies if it's getting depressing. I think it'll start looking more cheerful after this one...probably 'cause I've got no one else to kill. I'm getting pretty close to the end of Maree's story so we'll be back in the present soon enough...possibly end of the next instalment, but it may be the one after that.

Hope you're all enjoying the story.

Fare Thee Well!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Gratitude Tag

Guess what? I've finally found a 'Tag' that doesn't have rules! Astounding really. But, as this is the Gratitude Tag and only have five questions I'll be good and follow the unwritten rules.

Thanks to Anna, I was tagged last Wednesday, and (being incredibly good) I decided to do the post fairly quickly (I meant to do it yesterday but got distracted by the fact that we'd started back at school work and I completely forgot). So here we go!

I made the picture again! Can you believe it?

1. What is your favourite quote or verse that reminds you to be grateful? 
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

2. Who are you grateful for?
Basically God for loving the unlovable me, but apart from Him...I'm grateful for my amazing family and all they do for me. I'm truly blessed to have you. Also, I'm really thankful for my great friends.

3. What life events are you grateful for?
Life events...Er, the living part, that's pretty cool...Hmm, maybe getting glasses. 'Cause everyone else is used to how everything looks, but every day I can get amazed anew at the amazingness of God's creation. And then get a miracle of restoring sight whenever I put my glasses on.

4. What is something you are grateful for but often times don’t think about?
My house. We live on two acres, out of town, and have a nice sized Travelling Stock Reserve right next to us. Our house is nice and big (it's got to be to fit us all in), we have to share rooms (although I think that's just fun) but we are incredibly blessed. I can't imagine living in a tiny town house with a neat, little back yard that you can barely walk around in. Here we can climb trees, sword fight, do archery and generally be our crazy selves.

5. What are you going to do to show people your gratitude towards them?
Probably slap them on the back really hard a couple of times and say something really stupid and just generally be really awkward. So, no different from normal!

Since I did a Tag post last Monday and I tagged Sarah I'll just finish with this: If you're feeling up to it maybe you could do the Lovely Blog Tag this week??? Maybe? I'll be waiting. (Oh, I just thought of a good one) If you don't, maybe I'll You Know What one of your favourite characters...Mwahahaha! You'd better do it now. :)


Friday, 15 January 2016

If Adventure Comes Your Way - Fragment Thirteen


How was your week?
I did a couple of different being a little bit of editing of 'The Bridge of Anskar'. So I'm now up to draft four. I also had this really cool idea that, if it works, will change the story quite a lot. If it works...which it quite possibly won't. But I'm going to try it out anyway.

I also went to a friend's house on Thursday so (oh horror) I had to write the story on Wednesday! So confusing... But it was definitely worth it. We watched about five Doctor Who episodes, swam in the dam, did some archery (my arms are sooo sore today from the maybe-60 pound draw weight) and I got a massive bruise. 

If you thought last time's fragment was depressing - just wait. This one (and next week's) gets even worse. Option one won (he he, I like saying that). I may have mentioned that every week I write this paragraph summary of what's going to happen in the Fragment. last week's was a little too long so I had to cut it in half, so I didn't have much trouble this week! 

Read on for the next (depressing) Fragment!

A lone set of footsteps entered and all the soldiers went silent. A cold, haughty voice echoed in the suddenly quiet room.

“Light the fire. May as well have lunch, it would be such a pity to waste the chickens.”

Maree leant her head back against the wall. Things were just getting worse and worse. Movement in the room below signalled that someone was obeying the order, and she looked down to see a bunch of sticks being tossed onto the already glowing embers.

There was nothing for it. Either she’d have to jump out now and surrender to the soldiers or climb the chimney. Maree looked up into the dark gloom above her, her mouth dry with fear.

The sticks crackled below her, responding to the urging of the soldier.

Maree reached up, pressing her hands against the wall above. She lifted her feet, moving them higher up the chimney.

Soot fell down into the fireplace, and the sticks caught alight.

Smoke swirled upwards, choking Maree as she climbed higher. She dared not cough lest the men below hear her. Black ash rained down but Maree kept going, struggling to find clear air to breathe.

I ‘ave t’ git back to the young ones, Maree thought to herself, dragging herself higher up the narrowing chimney. The smoke and darkness made it impossible to see as she struggled to continue.

Reaching up again, Maree encountered a rough ledge and she realised she’d reached the top. Her lungs aching for air, she pulled herself up, squeezing out of the last part. Maree collapsed on the roof, gulping for air.

After a few minutes she sat up, steadying herself. Crawling to the edge of the roof, she looked around, thankful that no soldiers had heard her noise, and if they had, none had come to investigate. When they did she would be long gone.

With a deep breath, Maree dropped to the ground, rolling to soften the impact. She stood up, blinking as stars swirled in her vision. A laugh from several meters away made her spin around.

A tall, broad shouldered man tipped his head back and laughed again. “It seems we’ve found a runaway.” Lord Hacaz.

Maree ran.

She dashed around the corner of the house, running faster than she ever had before. She had to get to the others. 

Soldiers poured out of the farm cottage, some running directly after her but others ran for horses.

Maree fled past the stables, but as she passed the door a figure jumped out at her, tackling her to the ground. She fought back, terror ripping through her. If she was caught there’d be no one to look after the others. She couldn’t let them down, not now that her parents had been murdered.

But Maree was weakened by shock and exertion, and her attacker was not. Maree found herself held down firmly as her hands were bound tightly behind her back.

A hand pulled her to her feet, and Maree looked into the eyes of the man who’d laughed.

“Running will get you nowhere girl,” he said in the same cold voice that had silenced the room of soldiers. “It did no good to your parents.”

Maree pulled against the soldier holding her but to no avail.

“What is your name?” the first question came with a scornful sneer.

Maree clenched her jaw, determined not to answer.

Lord Hacaz drew his broadsword casually, fingering the edge. “My sword does not take kindly to little girls ignoring it,” he said without looking up. “What is your name?”

“Maree,” came the savage answer. “Maree Freespirit.” Maree spat at his feet.

“Where is the rest of your family?” now the lord did look at her, his eyes boring into hers as if to extract the information without her speaking a word.

Maree shook her head. “Not here,” she said.

“I worked that much out,” Hacaz answered. “Where exactly?”

“In this country,” Maree returned. 

In a moment the sword tip rested on her throat. “You will tell me where they are.”

“I will not,” she countered.

The lord of Sean Iister sheathed his sword fluidly. He took a step closer to Maree. “Perhaps you do not realise just how much I can do to those children when I find them,” he hissed menacingly. “Even if you do not tell me – and it will be all the worse for them if you don’t – I will find them.” He leaned in close, “And I will save you for last.”

Maree kept her face a mask, hiding the agonising uncertainty within. 

Hacaz paused a while longer, looking scornfully at Maree, then he gestured to the soldiers. “Tie her up; we’ll camp here for the night.”

Maree tried to resist but the soldiers dragged her to the pig pen, tying her hands to a post of the fence. The afternoon sun glinted off something in the grass. Maree shifted her foot slightly to conceal it from the soldiers.

When she was alone Maree slowly drew her foot towards her, pulling the object as well. She uncovered it carefully. Her father’s small penknife reflected the sun’s rays. He must have had it when fixing the fence and it had fallen from his pocket. Maree felt the light pierce her heart like a sliver of hope.

After a while of struggling, manoeuvring her legs and body as much as she could, Maree managed to get the knife within reach of her hands. The cold steel felt reassuring in her hand.


Maree waited until the darkest part of the night before cutting herself free.

All the soldiers were camped around in the barn or next to the cottage. Five were posted as look outs. In an hour it would begin to grow lighter but now darkness lay across the land like a blanket.

Half of the soldiers had been sent off by Hacaz earlier but hadn’t returned. Maree hoped that they wouldn’t think to search Ma Greey’s farm before she could warn them.

Maree worked at the ropes with the knife, wincing as it cut into her wrist more than once in the process. 

The last fibres snapped easily and she dropped the penknife into her pocket, flexing her fingers to get back circulation.

Lowering herself flat on her stomach, Maree squirmed forward, crawling towards freedom. The guards paid no attention to the dark shadow that slid past.

Her heart in her mouth, Maree continued, inching her way along the ground, ignoring the sharp sticks and rocks and scratched her arms. She’d done this many times before, but always it had been playing Soldiers and Runaways with her siblings.

This was real life Soldiers and Runaways.

Seconds dragged out, but still no one noticed. Maree pressed on, heading for a small grove of trees behind which she would have shelter. 

She reached the trees and picked herself up slowly. Looking back over her shoulder Maree bade a whispered fare well to her parents. Then, squaring her shoulders, she looked ahead.

The others would be waiting.

Maree’s swift footsteps sounded evenly on the hard ground. The brown grass parted for her and a crushed track spread out behind her for a moment before the grass sprung back into its usual position.

The first predawn light grew faintly in the sky and Maree pressed herself harder. The darkness had made it hard to navigate and she couldn’t travel as fast as she liked. 

The Greey homestead appeared out of the gloom and Maree, her speed reduced to a exhausted stagger, headed for it.

The small light of a candle flickered through the window and Maree felt a reassurance at once. Surely Ma Greey wouldn’t do that if soldiers had come.

She stumbled to the door, pounding on it heavily. It opened almost instantly and Ma Greey appeared. Even in the dim light of dawn Maree could tell that something was terribly wrong.

Tear streaked down her face, leaving shimmering trails in their wake.

“Ma Greey?” Maree asked hesitantly.

“I’m so—so sorry,” Ma Greey sobbed, burying her face in her hands.


1. Arms grabbed Maree from behind, dragging her backwards off balance.

2. Ma Greey was pushed forward and a soldier filled the doorway. “What are you doing here? You’re meant to be at the camp.” 

3. Maree stepped forward, grabbing the woman’s shoulders. “Why? Why are ye sorry?” she demanded, her eyes wild.


I honestly am sorry about all the thing I'm doing to poor Maree (Just picture me in the place of Ma Greey and you've got it). I really do like her, but suffering makes for a stronger character. Using their pain to make power, it's quite a common tactic with writers. Don't forget to comment and vote for your favourite option.


Monday, 11 January 2016

My New Lookin' Blog and a 'Lovely Tag'

As you probably have noticed, I have redone my blog! Thanks so much to my sister, Clare, for helping me. I just decided that it was time to upgrade to something cooler. New year, new look, eh? How do you like it?

So this 'Lovely Blog Tag' (I'm not entirely sure what it's called) to me by Clare -- my great source for receiving such tags...But guess what? I had to make a picture myself this time! *Gasps* Oh the horror!

So here are the rules that always come with things like this:

Give seven fun facts about yourself, and then give this tag to fifteen other great blogs.

Wait, what?! Does that say fifteen? Phew...okaay, I dunno about the 'fifteen' but I can do the fun facts bit. And here we are:

I am an expert at going. "Here, I'll show you how to do it," and then failing utterly at whatever it was. Oh, and then I laugh at my own idiocy and make a mental note not to offer again. A mental note which I almost always lose, forget, or just plain ignore.

I have three real fake swords/katanas. As in, I have three metal, ornamental-and-therefore-not-sharp swords. They're pretty cool, but the only problem is that Clare wants to take photos of me with them...Oh, the woes of having a photographer as a sister.

I attract bruises. They just seem to like me -- and I like them too. I've had some very interesting looking ones from archery, and it's so fun to show them to people and see them wince. Particularly if the bruises don't actually hurt much.

I don't like chocolate. I don't like most sweet things actually. Some biscuits are okay, and cake is too, but generally I'll say no to basically anything else. I've got up to number five now. Umm, my watches have a habit of smashing several days after I get them. Seriously, the last...four, I think, have broken no more than a month after I was given them. The first one I got on a Christmas about four years ago I broke the next day. But, I got another watch for this Christmas and it's survived with only one scratch! So far...

I am doing Potions for schoolwork this year. Well, not Potions technically. The cover of the book says Chemistry but Potions sounds much more interesting. I'm kind of getting slightly worried and more determined at the same time about that book. Clare started it, but switched to something else because it was too difficult, Alice probably wasn't going to have to do it. I was fine with all that, it just made me want to go, "Oh yeah! I can do this." And then I was told that Zach had also done it (this I already knew) but then I found out that he hadn't actually finished it and had gone to a different chemistry thing. That's got me worried. But it also makes me want to succeed even more...So I really don't know...I'm kind of just going to wait and see what it's like.

I think having a birthday on the 29th of February would be so fun. I could go around saying that I was three and a half! Can you just imagine that? It would be hilarious!

So there we are, fun facts about myself are all done, but if you wanted to read some more you can check out my 'About me' page. It's a whole page full of crazy facts.

So, fifteen other blogs. I'm thinking that I'll
Sarah (Novus Papilio) here is an excuse to go do another blog post!

Thanks for reading. Don't forget to check out the latest Fragment of If Adventure Comes Your Way, and leave a comment while you're there.

Fare Thee Well!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

If Adventure Comes Your Way - Fragment Twelve

Sorry about the 'Hopefully' promise of a post last week. I'd completely forgotten just how full the beginning of this week was. If you want an amusing version of things, take a look at the post my cousin Jessica did...

This Fragment (along with the next few) are the experiment of me discovering how much I actually know about Maree, and how much I just thought I knew.
I got a little distracted yesterday, because I decided that I really needed to make a map. I've worked out the outline of the countries so far, but I've still got to work on the rest. 

Now...I'm really hungry, so I'll leave you to read on. Hope you enjoy it! (Warning: Maree has a rather depressing back-story, but read on you must anyway 'cause I think it's worth it.)

(Saturday Edit: Sorry, I forgot to mention that option one got basically all the votes...I guess you've already worked that out though.)

Maree dropped down beside me a moment later, looking out into the misty rain. She drew in a deep breath, tapping her fingers on her legs idly. “P’rhaps noow woold be a good toime to tell you my story.”

I looked up, her brown eyes showed a layer of sadness beneath the usual smile. 

“Sorry eet took so long t’ tell ye, but we’ve jest noot ‘ad the time,” she sighed, then a corner of her mouth lifted in a small smile. “Where to start ees the queestion,” she mused, rubbing her chin thoughtfully.

“You don’t have to tell us if you don’t want to,” I said suddenly. 

“I do,” she replied, turned her head to meet my eyes steadily. “I’ve niver told enyone b’fore and eet jest makes eet harder. Eet’s eemportant as ye understand.”

I nodded slowly.

Maree stared blankly out into the rain, chewing her lip. “I grew oop on a leetle far jest North o’ a town called Sean Iister...

“Ah! I’ve bin caught!” the dark haired girl cried, tumbling to the ground under the attack of six young children.

Shrieks of laughter filled the air as they rolled around on the dry grass.

“Lunch!” a voice came from a small cottage behind the wrestling pile. The tussle stopped at once and all combatants scrambled to their feet. The girl paused a moment to help her two year old sister to her feet.

“’tack! ‘tack!” the toddler shouted. “Chase Ree-ree!”

Her older sister laughed, swinging the baby up into her arms. “C’mon Neea, lunch!”

When they reached the cottage, a motherly figure shook her head, smiling lovingly at her oldest daughter. “Oh Maree, I dinna ken how ye can manage t’ git yer hair so wild,” she said, pulling the baby from her grasp.

“An’ I dinna even try,” Maree replied, tugging the tie from her hair in an attempt to return it to some semblance of neatness.

Her father and two more brothers trouped through the door, dusty and dry from their work in the fields. The family crowded around the rough wooden table, sitting on homemade stools. Nia began beating her spoon on the table, eager to begin. Maree’s father bowed his head and said his simple prayer, raising his voice so as to be heard over the baby’s noise.

As soon as he finished chaos broke out. “Pa, we played sold’eers  an’ run’ways.”, “Can I ‘ave more?”, “I dinna like thees!”, “Ma, Jonny kicked m’ leeg!”

Maree grinned as all eight of her siblings – all younger than herself – began to talk at the same time. Jest anoother dey’s lunch, she thought dipping her slice of bread into the thick soup.

“How’re the croops goin’?” she asked her brother across the table.

Twelve year old Dael shrugged. “Need rain,” he replied, spooning more soup into his mouth.

Maree pressed her lips together, the rain had not come for months now and everything was dying.

In ten minutes, chaos was over and Maree helped her mother collect the plates and wash up. As she methodically wiped the plates and bowls Maree amused the youngest three – Nia, Jonny and Ellie – with a story about a sleeping princess in a castle. 

She finished the dishes and sat on the table, weaving her story with the art of practice. Then she stopped short. Hoof beats were approaching from a distance. Definitely more than one horse. No one around was rich enough to own even one riding horse, let alone a dozen or so.

Maree rose and peered from the window, her mother leaving her mending to join her. A cloud of dust rose above the horizon from the direction of Sean Iister.

“What coold eet be?” Maree murmured, ignoring Jonny tugging on her hand and begging her to continue to story.

Her mother shook her head. “I dinna ken,” she said, frowning lightly at the dust.

An idea occurred to Maree and she turned wide eyes to her mother. “What eef Lord Hacaz’s wife be deid? He wouldna blame us would he?”

The hardy farm woman blew a strand of hair from her eyes. “Go find y’ Pa, Maree,” she said.

Maree didn’t answer but dashed out the door, hair flying out behind her. She ran like a hare, much faster than the pretence of running she used when playing soldiers and runaways with her brothers and sisters. 

Her father and brothers were mending an old fence in the pig pen. Maree ran over, feet crunching on the brown grass. “Pa! Someone’s comin’,” she called.

Her father rose, frowning in the direction she pointed.

“Ma said to git ye,” Maree explained further.

“Can ye tell who it be?” he asked.

“No, we canna, but what eef Lady Hacaz died? What eef the soldiers be comin’ t’ keell us?” the dark brown eyes looked anxiously into her father’s hoping for reassurance.

“I canna say,” her pa said, grabbing up his tools. “But we’ll be reedy.”

Maree ran back to the house leaving her father and two younger brothers behind. Her mother grabbed her shoulders and pulled her inside. “Maree,” she said. “Y’ must know. Eef the soldiers are comin’ fer us, ye’ll ‘ave t’ take the children to safety. Dan Greey’s homestead.”

“But, Ma!”

“You be the oldeest, Maree, they’ll follow ye. Jest do as I sey an’ git them safe away.”

Maree looked into her mother’s urgent eyes and nodded. “Yes Ma,” she said.

“Dey look loike sold’eers,” Jonny said, leaning out the window. “They same ones as got Ma t’ make better the lady?”

Maree bit her lip, glancing at her mother. “Maybe, Jonny,” she said. “We havena found oot yit.”

Maree’s father slammed the door as he entered, beckoning his wife over to the side. Maree turned to look out the window again but couldn’t help over hearing their lowered voices.

“But surely they’d noot blame ye for bein’ unable t’ heal her?” Pa exclaimed. “Do noot all healers ‘ave a deeth a soome toime?”

“Aye, but ye didna see his eyes,” came the soft reply. “He loved ‘er much, ‘twere a fierce sort of love to, eet were.”

Maree felt a tug on her hand. “Can ye fineesh the story?” Ellie asked hopefully.

“First ye all be goin’ t’ visit Ma Greey,” Pa said behind them. “Maree’ll fineesh the story there.”

“Canna she do eet here?” Ellie asked.

“No,” Pa replied sternly.

“I don’t wanna go,” Jonny howled.

“Oh, c’mon, Jonny,” Maree said, forcing a smile. “We’ll play Soldiers and Runaways on the way?”

Jonny considered for a moment. “I’ll go,” he agreed.

“Oot the back door with ye then,” Ma said, kissing each child tenderly.

Maree watched sadly, knowing that when the soldiers reached the house there’d be no telling what they would do to her parents.

Her father pulled her into his strong embrace. “Take care o’ them, Maree,” he whispered in her ear. “We’ll come an’ git you whin the soldiers leeve. Remember yer a Freespirit, we niver give oop.”

Maree nodded silently, all words catching in her throat. Her mother wrapped her in a hug. “Dinna forgit as we love ye,” she murmured.

“I willna,” Maree managed, she stepped back.

Tear glistened in her mother’s eyes as she smiled faintly. “Off ye go, dinna worry ‘bout us.”

Maree closed the door behind her, looking over her bunch of siblings. “Weell, who want’s t’ reece the first ‘alf?”

A tired bunch of children met the eyes of Ma Greey when she looked out her window. She flung open the door. “What a lovely surprise!” she exclaimed, beaming. “Come in, come in, all of you.”

When all her charges were inside Maree touched Ma Greey’s arm. “We’ve come ‘ere for sheelter,” she explained in a whisper. “There be soldiers comin’ t’ Ma an’ Pa. We dinna ken what they be wantin’. I’ve got t’ git back.”

“But, Maree!” she exclaimed. “Surely it’s too dangerous?”

“That’s why I’m goin’ back,” Maree said. She caught the arm of her brother. “Dael, ye’ll be in charge. I’ve got t’ go back.”

Without waiting for a reply, Maree left at a run.

The soldiers didn’t notice a small figure creeping towards the house. Maree shadowed along the wall of the barn, moving slowly to avoid unwanted attention. Loud voices were coming from the front of the building and Maree risked a sprint across the clear space, diving under cover by the house wall. No cries of alarm were raised so she crawled to the back door, her heart beating rapidly.

Maree straightened slowly, but accidentally kicked a stone as she rose. It clattered across the hard ground startling a chicken scratching nearby. It emitted a loud squawk, and started flapping around cackling in protest.

The sound of quick even footsteps alerted Maree and she scrambled around the other side of the house, mentally turning the chicken into roast supper for giving her away. Voices came from where she’d been moments before and Maree continued to edge around to the opposite side of the house, her heart in her mouth.

It seemed that all the soldiers had gone after the chicken and she was alone. She leaned against the wall breathing heavily. Then two limp forms on the ground caught her eye.

She lurched off the building, stumbling toward them. Maree fell to her knees beside the still body of her Ma. For a full second she couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. Then a choking sob rose in her throat. “M-Ma?” she gasped.

The eyelids flickered open. “Maree?” her mother’s faint voice was barely a breath.


“Maree, ye must hide. The soldiers will be killin’ you too. You an’ all the reest,” her Ma’s voice was getting fainter.

“I love ye, Ma,” Maree said, her eyes filling with tears.

“Are the others... are they...seefe?”

“Yes, Ma, I left ‘em weeth Ma Greey,” she replied.

A small smile eased onto the pale face below her. “Hide noow, Maree...go...leeve me, there be nothin’ can do.”

“I love ye, Ma, I reelly do,” Maree sobbed, tears sliding down her face.

“Me...too,” her mother’s voice was barely audible. Her eyes closed.

Maree’s heart felt like it was tearing apart, her thoughts screamed in pain. Tears streamed from her eyes, falling onto the parched ground.

Her mother’s words echoed in her mind, she had to hide. Maree staggered into the cottage where she’d lived all her life. She tripped on a broken stool and only just caught herself on the table. But a wooden cup fell with a clatter, Maree knew the noise would bring the soldiers but she barely cared.

Hide, ye must hide. Maree stumbled to the fireplace as the back door crashed open. Bracing her leg against one side she pushed herself into the sooty darkness.

Soldiers stomped around underneath her as Maree stayed as still as possible. They continued searching the cottage thoroughly, and soon her legs were quivering with the strain. 

Tears dripped down her nose, falling unheeded onto her tunic. The slightest movement would have brought a shower of soot down and Maree didn’t care anyway. 

The soldiers seemed to give up, and as she listened Maree could almost see them lounging around on the table. Jest leeve murd’rin’ scum, Maree thought desperately. Then, almost as if she’d said the words aloud, the door opened.

A lone set of footsteps entered and all the soldiers went silent. A cold, haughty voice echoed in the suddenly quiet room.


1. “Light the fire. May as well have lunch, it would be such a pity to waste the chickens.”

2. “Does anyone else notice the strange amount of soot falling out of that chimney?”

3. “Well? Did you find them?”


I'd forgotten how depressingly sad Maree's history was! D'you like how I've made it a story that's happening rather than Maree telling it. I just thought that it might get hard to understand with Maree's accent though the whole thing. Looking forward to your comments!

Fare Thee Well!

Friday, 1 January 2016

If Adventure Comes Your Way - Fragment Eleven

Happy new year, everyone! Hope you all had great Christmas holidays!

I had a great time at my cousin Jessica's place and we even took her home with us afterwards which wasn't originally planned...
Some random things we did:

A couple games of Badminton happened (my sisters and I had asked for - and received - a set for Christmas), in which I was the most enthusiastic player. I was the one who got the graze on my leg from doing a crazy-and-entirely-pointless-but-fun dive or two.

I also thought up this new header thing for my blog but Clare and I are still to work on that.

Played about sixty-something rounds of Billionaire. (That is actually not an exaggeration)

Swam in the pool for around three and a half hours.

Finally worked out what is going to happen next with the story that I'm writing with Jessica.

And now...for the most interesting thing...I hid in a chimney for twenty-five minutes. Yup. I did. 
Jessica and I had been playing hide-and-seek with my two little brothers and when Jessica was in I decided I should hide in a slightly difficult hiding spot. Thus the chimney. There's this fireplace in the master bedroom with cupboard doors in front of it (I dunno why, it makes it good for hiding in though). At first I was just standing in one corner.
I heard Jessica, Samuel and Joshua walk into the room and Jessica said something like, "...Unless she's hiding in the fireplace, but I don't think even Jane would do that." She opened one door and said, "Nope, not in there." closed the door and left. I was amazed to say the least.
After that I decided to move slightly in case she looked in again. So I moved as quietly as I could until I was sitting with my legs braced against one side and my back and shoulders against the other so that they'd have to look up the chimney to see me.
As I mentioned earlier, it took them twenty-five minutes to find me, and they only did after I'd been 'haloo'ing my lungs out. Sadly, when you make a really loud noise in a chimney it only sounds like groaning from outside it. 
When I came out I was rather covered in soot, and I smelt like a chimney for the rest of the day. Plus my legs were soooo sore. But it was definitely worth it.

Last night we went to a New Year's Eve party and had heaps of fun...but more about that will (hopefully) come in another post later on.

Ahem, now, I'm sure you're all literally dying to read the story, and that would be my fault 'cause of the horrible cliffhanger I ended with last time. Sorry 'bout that. Option Three won and, without further ado, here is Fragment Eleven!

Maree raised her bound hands, and waved them above her head. “I beleeve I have the preevilege of last words?”

The crowd quietened slightly, all watching my friend.

“We’ve gotta do something,” Jack said. I ignored him, unable to tear my eyes from Maree.

“Dinna worry ‘bout me,” she raised her voice. “But pigs coold be handy.”

 “What?” Jack frowned. “I think that thump on the head did some damage.”

I looked at him and shook my head slowly. “No, it didn’t,” I murmured. “She’s talking to us.”

“But pigs?

“She probably means those ones,” I pointed to a pen at the far side of the stable. A snuffling grunt came from that direction and I ran to the stable door.

With a careful tug, I pulled it open. The pigs sniffed around as I unlatched their gate, one of them ambled out casually.

“Catch, Louise!” Jack called.

I moved my hands quickly and found, to my amazement, that I actually caught the apple he’d thrown. Bending down, I waved the fruit in front of the pig. It started looking much more interested, and all the other pigs began pushing up behind it.

With a smile, I tossed the apple out the door and stepped back to make way for the dozen or so pigs that raced past me. “You may want to move,” Jack warned, and I looked around to see him unlatching one of the horse’s stalls. 

Jack slapped the horse’s rump and started yelling at the top of his lungs. All the horses neighed in surprise and I pushed opened another stall, ducking out of the way as the horse charged out of the stable. I raced to the next horse, and so on to the next after that, Jack doing the same.

I was aching to see if Maree was alright but she’d said not to worry, so she must’ve had a plan. Soldiers yelled and the sound of terrified horses from outside pushed me even faster. 

“There’s someone in the stable!” A loud bellow caught my ear as I rolled away from the hooves of a newly released horse.

Soldiers appeared in the open doorway just in time to be smashed into by the next horse. An arrow hissed wickedly past me, thudding into the stable wall. I dashed to an empty stall, ducking below the wall as another arrow whizzed my way.

“The window,” Jack hissed from his hiding place across from me. 

I nodded, took a deep breath, and charged out, running for the far end of the stable. I collapsed behind the cover of another stall.

Jack joined me a moment later, panting hard. “You first,” he motioned. “I’ll distract them.”

Jack jumped up, his hands raised in surrender. “There you go, we surrender!” he called to the soldiers.

I scrambled out the window behind Jack, staggering to regain my balance when I landed.

Jack literally dived out the window after me, rolling to his feet. We sprinted toward the gallows but I skidded to a stop after a few steps. “No, please, no,” I gasped.

Hacaz was almost beside the gallows, already reaching toward the latch to release the trapdoor under Maree. I dashed forward, but too late. The boards under Maree disappeared and she fell, stopping abruptly as the rope around her neck caught.

“No!” I screamed.

Hacaz turned around, picking a bow off the ground as he did.

Jack launched into action. He barrelled into me, grabbing my hand and dragging me toward a horse. I stumbled over a fallen sword and an arrow skimmed over my back. My mouth turned dry with fear.

Jack caught the horse’s mane, kneeling quickly to help me mount. I swung my leg over the horse’s back, ducking away from another arrow.

I hauled Jack up behind me as Hacaz closed the distance between us. I kicked my heels into the horse, urging it into a gallop.

An arrow flashed past me, grazing my arm. I gasped in pain but kept my grip on the horse’s mane.
Hacaz yelled for more soldiers to go after us and I could hear the confusion of many, but my mind was dulled and I did even care.

Maree was dead.

The portcullis was cranking down as we charged forward, Jack pushed my head down and spurred our mount faster. We passed under it with just centimeters to spare and then we were out into the open, heading for a gap in the rocks.

The horse balked as we reached the gap and, balanced precariously as we were, both Jack and I fell to the ground. Arrows hissed through the air, falling short and skidding along the grass or slamming into the rock face and bouncing off.

I climbed to my feet, panting for air. Jack scrambled through the gap, disappearing in moments. “C’mon!” he yelled, his head appearing again.

My staggering feet moved me forwards and soon I was beside Jack. We ran through the thick trees, branches slapped my face, but I ran on, oblivious.

Eventually Jack tugged me down, pulling me into a small crevice under the roots of a tree. I fell to the ground in exhaustion. I tried to steady my breathing but a lump caught in my throat. I’d failed, Maree had been relying on me, and I’d failed. Nothing mattered anymore.

I buried my face in my hands. She couldn’t be dead, Maree was just too...alive to ever be able to die. 

Jack rested his hand on my shoulder. “She said not to worry,” he began.

“Yeah, that’s because she thought I’d be able to rescue her,” I burst out. “That’s because she believed in me. But I failed.” I stopped, realising that yelling at Jack wasn’t doing either of us any good.

“You didn’t fail,” Jack said. “You did all you could.” I remained silent, fighting against the tears that threatened to overwhelm me.

A stick cracked nearby and running footsteps came towards us. I jumped to my feet, ready to surrender myself to any soldier who turned up.

“Louise!” Jack hissed. “What are you doing?”

I didn’t care if the soldiers killed me anymore, I just wanted the pain to disappear.

Then Maree appeared through the trees.

I stared at her. No, Maree is dead, my thoughts whispered, She isn’t really there. It was just too much. I fell to my knees and let go my tears. Sobs wracked my throat and drops flowed down my cheeks. She couldn’t be dead, yet there was no way she could be alive.

The sound of quick footsteps approached quickly and hands grabbed my shoulders. “Loueese! Eet’s me, Maree.”

“No,” I groaned. “She not really there.”

“You dinna be theenkin’ as I were deid did ye?” someone shook my shoulders.

Through the veil of tears I saw Maree’s brown eyes looking anxiously into my own. “But you were...I saw Hacaz...” I couldn’t continue.

Maree pulled me to my feet with a strong arm. “I told ye noot t’ worry. Earlier I’d meed sure I were reedy so whin ye let go the pigs an’ no one were lookin’ hooked my belt to the rope so that I dinna ectually git hung.”

I drew my sleeve across my eyes. “But it looked like—”

“Dinna worry what eet looked like,” Maree interrupted. “Eet wasna anythin’ but a fake.”

Jack tapped Maree’s shoulder. “I think they’ve got search parties,” he said.

Maree glanced around quickly as a distant yell broke the silence of the forest. “I’d sey you’re right,” she agreed. “I shoold steell be able t’ find the rock hole,” she mused thoughtfully, tapping her chin.

Her hand found mine. “I’ll show ye the way,” she said.

We set off through the forest, twisting through the large trunks. I still could barely work out what had just happened. First Maree was dead and then she’d actually faked everything and was perfectly alive. Perhaps I’m just having a nightmare, I thought dimly then shook my head, this was way too real for a dream.

The sound of our pursuers faded into the distance until our footfalls were the only sound other than the rustles of forest creatures moving from our path.

Maree paused at a creek, chewing her lip for a moment. “Thet’s the way,” she pointed to the other side. “I theek,” she added after a slight hesitation.

“We’ll not have any less trouble going any other way, so why not?” Jack shrugged backing up a few paces before jumping over the narrow water course. 

“Reemember what happened last I crossed a reever?” Maree whispered.

I couldn’t help but smile. “How could I forget?” I replied. The water didn’t look too wide so I followed Jack’s example and leapt across.

Maree grinned widely. “You’re gittin’ better at thees,” she said, joining us on the far bank.

She continued to lead us along an invisible path and after a while she started looking much more confident. “We be neerly there,” she said. In another ten minutes she stopped short.

“Well?” I asked, looking around for some kind of hiding place.

“Eet’s oop there,” Maree pointed to a huge tree. “We climb thet tree, then drop doown onto a big rock, and theen there’s a cave.”

Jack whistled softly. “Sounds tricky.”

“Noot ectually,” Maree shook her head. “Queet easy whin ye try eet. I’ll go first eef ye want.”

“Good idea,” I said.

Maree began to climb up the tree swiftly, showing that she’d done so once or twice before. I, on the other hand, had never even tried.

Luckily Maree was correct about the ‘easy’ part, and I managed to follow my two companions up without much trouble. Maree caught my hand as I dropped down onto the rock, steadying me.

“Weelcome t’ Dragon Cave,” she said, ushering me towards the entrance. She paused and glanced up at the sky. “Looks as weel git a wee bit o’ rain,” she said, squinting her eyes. 

“How did you know this place was here?” I asked.

“Came acrooss eet some toime ago,” she said, looking back at me as a light rain started to fall.

“You going to come in or not?” Jack called from in the cave.

Maree’s lips twisted in her lopsided smile. “On oor wey,” she called, turning to the deep cave. 

I sat down on the floor at the side of the cavern, discovering a worn, musty blanket on the floor which I spread out as a seat. Obviously Maree had come here quite frequently.

Maree dropped down beside me a moment later, looking out into the misty rain. She drew in a deep breath, tapping her fingers on her legs idly...


1. “P’rhaps noow woold be a good toime to tell you my story.”

2. A splintering crack from outside the cave made her jump to her feet once more.

3. “Hey you two,” Jack said tentatively. “There’s something I found a while ago that might be important.”


I'm not entirely sure why I bothered to make three options this time, I'd be really surprised if we don't get heaps of votes for a certain option...I think you've all been waiting for that option for a while now. :)

Hope you liked the story and I have cured you all from your various conditions of story withdrawal.

Fare Thee Well!