Chapter One Cont…

She stayed the winter, improving her hovel and hunting, collecting what was left of the nuts and berries, hazel mainly for the nuts, blackberries, haws, elderberries and rosehips. She grubbed up some tough root veg and found a stand of juruselum artichokes the only things that were due to be harvested and not over. There were a few crabby apples and pears half withered on their branches but this in trueth ment they were half preserved for the winter all ready.

Her main fear was that her wood pile was going to give her away, the hovel was pretty well camaphlarged though as she had a fire it was a moot point. She stacked the wood around the tree, all wind fall – she didn’t want to blunt her knife hacking wood and she had no saw. She snapped what she could into managable lengths by using her feet and a lever action of a second log on the ground.

And then she came across an injuried deer, gritting her teeth she butchered it, work that had to be done quick as the meat would go off within an hour or two of death if not seen too. She built a smoking hut having no salt to keep the meat in. She kept the squirrel tails and the rabbit skins, curing them to use as clothing, a sling, hide from the deers leg made a good water carrier.

And then the red rust and orange leaves had been covered in white glitter, spiky patterns that picked out the viens on each leaf, they crunched under her feet. The snow was not far off and the snars where turning up less and less but still she set them. The ground became hard to grub in and she had to use her knife. Dissapointment set in as a cluster of mushrooms turned out to have splite gills and be poisonous and not the edible species they looked like.

Before the snow there was torrential down pour, cold, soaking and a threat to the structural integraty of her hovel. She huddled in the still infested blanket not having any hides big enough to make a blanket. Pelt of the smaller animals had mostly gone to fixing her clothes and lining her boots, but she had started amassing them with the idea of a blanket – they smelt bad.

The snow hit – first in gentle flakes here and there that decended into a miserable sleet making the leaves tretcherous. She didn’t go out whilst the cold stuff was falling from the sky, except to use the bog of nature and to fetch fire wood. But when it wasn’t falling she was checking ehr traps and bringing back less and less.

Eventually the snow blanketed the woodland hiding all the golds and brown all the colours of warmth benieth icy white and blue, the tree trunks were stark dark wholes in the monochrome landscape. The sun a hazy white ball if noticable at all. She was hungry all the time but had to ration her supplies, she doubted survivng the winter she was pretty much living off of meat.

The world seemed pretty desolate and gave her too much time to think. The dreams had started again, coming faster and more confused each night, she was sleeping more but somehow getting less refreashed.

Milky opolescance, a floating sensation, fire, screaming, monsters with grey skin and dark liquid eyes, teeth pointed and sharp, lost, searching, small and hungry. It stretched to take the shape of lifetimes. Glittering armour, boxes flickering with light, scratches on bark, all meaning… something. It was there but if she reached towards it it evaporated. And she back on the pyre, back being burnt alive, back in the arms of the young monk in a filthy cell. Pain lanced the dreams obliterating their substance.

She needed a home she decided, once winter had ended she would go in search of one, if she survived. Home… home… were was home? Somewhere in the land of the Crusades she felt it deep within but she was not dark she fitted in most European places but how much of that was her hiding from the sun, not that you had to hide at this accursade time. The sun was weaker than she remembered even for England. There was more snow, deeper thicker, bleaker. The people she had seen looked broken – she had seen that once before in this particular land maybe it was cyclic?

She snuggled down in her blanket – the winter drew on – endless half light.

And she got her clock/blanket of coni just after midwinter and craved vegitables more than anything in the world even above her fish craving. Winter slowely melted and she packed her belongings in her many pouches and filled her new water casket. Spring was muddy but then so would the summer be if they weather remaind like this so she was on the move.

She looked like a filthy bundle of rags, but her face was less streaked with grim and her hair hand been brushed out at least twice in the long winter months. She was contemplating her best course of action she was not sure of the social structure in place – she did not want to end up a slave but how to enter a middle class of some sort? She had no money for clothes nor could she hide the lack of income. Prostitution seemed like an answer but it wasn’t – the deises rate would be high and she wasn’t sure how good her immunity would be after the abuse her body had gone through the last few years. Plus it may well hold the death penulty – it did in many places she had lived.

Maybe she could become an apprentice?

That was almost as bad as slavery but it secured her food and a life time of work – it was worth concidering, of course that would involve her dressing as a boy yet again. She doubted from what she’d seem on the boat that women would be allowed a profession. Of course she could tidy herself up and get herself a husband but that never sat well with her – at the end of the day she was willful and loved her freedom and the men always become resentfull when children didn’t start appearing.

Monstery’s and Nunarys were good solution but that that had started half the trouble in France so she was loathed to go down that route again. But they did tend to have alms for the poor so maybe that wasn’t such a bad idea. She had heard rumours on the boat though that somehting strange was happening in England – they had suddenly become godless. She shrugged and kept walking she had her own thoughts on religon and they would get her burnt without a repreive.

She walked for about a week before she came upon a road, she followed it. She had it to herself for two days before soldiers in clanky armour and silly helmets came pounding along. She dived off the road expecting to be ignored but one of them stopped.

Demanded somehting in English she bearly understood, she answered in French, ‘I looking for the cathedral?’

The soldier looked at her suspiciously but some of the agression had gone replaced with a waeriness. ‘French?’ She shook her head she didn’t want to mistaken for a spie and she knew there had been political issues between the two nations. ‘My Lord the Cathedral lies in the direction we ride but go home sire, you are too young to join the fight,’ clicked his tongue and the horse he was riding cantered away.

She stood there perplexed – Lord? Sire? Fight? But he had answered her in French! Had things changed so much? There was she remembered some French King who was English too or something like that – she cursed herself for not having kept up with the news of the courts.

He thought she was a boy that much was evident and of the blood. That thought quarked her. But she could see it happening, some youth hot headed and full of passion for faith and crown angred by his parents refusal to allow him to go with his brothers – but why the cathedral? Where the troops rallying there?

She kept up her monotonous druge as she thought about it.

The road was ripped up by the horses hooves, sticky with the underlaying clay, it clung to her slowing her down. Great pieces of flint with chalky cortex showed benieth giving a sort of sticky cobbled affect. The road was in trueth ill mantained left over from a previous age that she doubted any of the current inhabitates realised had ever been.

That night she made camp and slept fitfully – the forest appeared to be full of nosies, full of shadows. She kept still and quiet and slept the best she could.

The morning was full of the same mist that seemed perminant on this miserable isle but there were buds on the trees and somehow she felt cherria than she had for a long time. But there were figures she kept seeing them out of the corner of her eyes – shodowy figures, the same colour as the land, just sort of drifting aimlessly. After nearly a full day of this she started to try and catch one of them but they were worse than cats who have been kicked one too many times!

Finially she lost it and stalked one, catching it by suprise and felling it, it was a young woman with decayed teeth, she smelt her hair lank with grease, her eyes wide with fear and a resignation that made the heart bleed.

‘Why are you all here?’ The girl looked blankly at her.

She tried again in her old English, but everything seemed so mixed now – so dialected. The girl looked confussed then, a string of something unitelligable except for the words soldiers and fire.

She got up off the girl and looked to the sky line – above the trees there was a pull of smoke, she shuddered. The girl sat frozen on the ground as if fearing to move, she felt bad – these people were so scared so lost she’d seen this sort of behaviour too where resignation was more of a surivial trait than fighting though weather it was a life they had she couldn’t be sure.

Wars existed in abundance but not this displacement of people not for at least a century – the Upper Crust had been too busy with the sport of running each other through to bother with the little people who farmed and provided the food for the nation.

She decided that perhapse the road wasn’t the best place to be after all and set off parralle to it in the woods. There were so many people and they all looked hungry though not like they had been without just enough for long. They would turn on each other soon in a desperate battle to live.

She had to make sure she wasn’t cuaght up in what ever it was.

Another fitful night and the next morning brought her to within the grounds of the catherdral. She stared and the smouldering ruin, at the stone walls so mighty and grand and the smashed debris that surrounded her. A small child sat silently on the steps staring blankly into the beyound.

She approached the little creature, it looked at her suddenly and reach out its scraggly arms, she would have picked it up if a filthy creature hadn’t bowled her over, and scooped the child up. The child clung to the apperition as if for dear life and she heard a soft noise that obviously ment mum and so she let the child be stolen into the woods.

Had the solders done this?

Was their war against the church? If people had seen sense then why the blood and gore? For the more she looked at the ruins the more she saw – Monks strewn about, women children aswell. Scattered like leaves.

She felt sick but kept moving towards the ruins.

Posted: Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 @ 12:08 pm
Categories: Uncategorized.
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