The Summer of SAGE continues. Yesterday, I signed oh so many copies to be sent out to the lovely folks who pledged at the appropriate amount to the SAGE Kickstarter campaign. So, if you’ve been waiting for your signed copies, they’re on the way!
Today, let’s look inside the heart and mind of Devona, the scribe. Her husband, Darcy, has left her alone to mourn the death by fever of their little girl in order to run an errand for someone Devona didn’t see.
The Fall of Onagros, Book 1 of SAGE
by Marian Allen
Darcy came in, carrying something wrapped in his cloak. He bolted the door one-handed. He brought the bundle to her.
It was a child – a living child – a little girl of Elsie’s age. Devona heard Darcy say that she must ask no questions. He said that the wanderings of the Way had brought this child to them. Devona could not accept Elsie’s death? Here was a meaning for it. Here was a chance to save a life in place of a life that had been lost. Darcy said that they must bury their own baby – bury her in the dirt – with no ceremony and in secret. He said that they must call this child “Elsie” and keep her out of sight for a week or two. He spoke of a promotion which would involve a move to another District, where this child would be accepted as their own.
Devona heard, and translated the story into one she could believe. Not that she doubted the sincerity of Darcy’s plea, nor that she rejected it, but she knew Darcy as a man who could always find noble motives for looking after himself. Darcy, Devona told herself, had agreed to foster another man’s child. A Thane’s, perhaps – someone in power. Darcy would do such a thing only for someone in power, never for a friend. She supposed the mother had died. The someone at the door had come to claim the District Roll-Keeper’s official help in keeping the child from the baby farm. This promotion and transfer was his payment, or a way to bring the child closer to the father who wasn’t yet willing to claim her.
Devona held the child, feeling her warmth, listening to her breathing, watching the fluttering of her eyelashes. Filled with such bitter cynicism toward her husband, Devona felt only gratitude toward the little girl in her arms.
Elsie had gone to the heart of the Way; she was at peace, but her mother was not. Elsie’s flight to freedom had left Devona’s heart distended with emotions too deep and mixed to be ranged and given names. This child was not Elsie, but she was so much the dearer for taking Elsie’s place in a world of chill and disappointments, while Elsie escaped to the safety of untouchable death.
The love and care and guidance Devona would have given the child she had borne, she would give ungrudgingly to the child she now cradled. That and more, in recognition that she held her in trust from another woman, also now at peace.
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A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What would your main character do with an unexpected child?