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!


  1. I gised t'wood be somtink loike dis. I voot 3.

    1. Whoa! Was that meant to be Maree's accent? Can you imagine just how difficult that would be to understand? Phew, I'm glad I haven't gone that far yet... :) (You see, when you're my cousin, I can say things like that and know that you'll know I'm only joking...mostly.)
      Thanks for voting Jessica.

  2. Replies
    1. Hmmm, I didn't think up very nice options this time did I. I guess Maree's situation isn't very nice.
      Thanks heaps for commenting!

  3. I vote option three because I think that there should have already been a fire lit from lunch and washing up... and if the fire was already meant to be lit they should not have to light it. Hiding in a chimney... sounds vaguely familiar to me!

    1. Vaguely...I decided while in the chimney that I'd have to make a character in some story sometime hide up a chimney. I know what it's like, although my circumstances were a little better. :)

  4. Poor, poor Maree :(

    I'll vote for Option One :D

    1. I know...We authors are so cruel! It was rather depressing writing it. :(

  5. Well, I read this last week but I apparently forgot to comment!
    I vote for Option 1 though they all look like they will probably lead to about the same place. :)

    1. Yeah, they all do basically, because I already knew Maree's story - at least the gist of it - so they're just slightly different and more roundabout ways of getting to the same thing.
      It just makes you guys feel special if it looks like you can decide. :D
      Thanks for commenting!


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