#SampleSunday – On the Run

Here’s another sample from The Fall of Onagros, Book 1 of Sage. Books 2 and 3 are inching ever closer to the end of the pipeline. Meanwhile, Book 1 is out in print and various electronic versions (see sidebar for links).

The Fall of Onagros, Book 1 of Sage – excerpt
On the Run
by Marian Allen

After another moment’s consideration, Brady and Elsie threaded through a crowd watching a puppet show, off the road, and around a grassy rise. He saw the tops of some trees a little farther on and led the way to them. He and Elsie stepped into the hanging shelter of a willow. Somewhere nearer to the river, a hen crooned a soft monologue. The air was still, and rich with the smell of living wood. Bees hummed around their dappled sanctuary, reminding Brady of the skeps at the back of Devona’s manor, of the beeswax candles in the scrivenry and their smell of caramelized honey as they burned.

“I’m hungry,” said Elsie.

“I could eat a little something.”

Elsie unpacked bread, cheese, and water, took some, and left Brady to help himself.

“Oh, very nice, girl,” Brady sneered, enjoying the luxury of speaking out instead of biting back his words. “‘Risk your life for me. Don’t expect me to thank you, of course – ‘”

Elsie snapped, “Don’t call me ‘girl!'”

“Well, I won’t call you ‘Mistress Elsie’ anymore. And I won’t call your father ‘Master’ – until I see him again.” Brady poked at his anger, trying to make it blaze. He was disappointed to find that, once unbanked, it was no more than irritation. “Your mother is my Mistress. You other two are only nuisances –”

“And you’re a work-for-hire man!”

“With your life in my hands.”

Elsie’s face drained of color. To Brady’s shock, she began to cry: not a poor-me snivel or a give-me-my-way wail or a lovely-when-I-weep single teardrop, but ugly, wracking sobs.

At a loss, he watched until she pressed her hands to her temples, took a series of shuddering breaths, and grew quiet.

She kept her head lowered as she said, “I didn’t mean to cry. I don’t want your pity. You can’t know – The kind of life you’ve lived – I think you like what’s happened. You like running away with danger at our heels.”

Brady had to admit, provided the danger was unlikely to catch him, he enjoyed the chase.

As if she read his thoughts, Elsie said, “I don’t. A month ago, I was happy. My life was secure. I knew who I was, and I could be fairly certain of who I would become. Now….” She took a quick, deep breath. “I’m terrified. But I’m so tired. I can’t bear to stop but I couldn’t go on. Every second, I think I’ll hear Landry’s men, but I couldn’t…. And now you threaten me –”

Brady forgot that Elsie was a woman’s age, and only remembered that she was six years younger than he – a baby. He scolded her as an older brother would have: “Oh, don’t! Why would I help you escape if I didn’t intend to finish the job?”


“Take you to Kozabir. Get you settled there. Safe. I promised your mother, didn’t I? Just watch how you talk to me, that’s all I’m saying. You owe me some courtesy.”

“I suppose I do.” Elsie wiped her face on the sleeves of her shirt. Brady nearly smiled, seeing the fastidious Mistress Elsie with her face smeared and blotchy. It added to her disguise; she looked even less like the Kinninger’s runaway bride and more like a grubby schoolboy.


You want to buy that book and read it and review it, don’t you? As the little brother of a friend of #4 Daughter used to say when he was trying to persuade one to bend to his will, “You WANT to!”

I’m posting today at The Write Type about how I’m preparing for Story A Day in May.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character misunderstands the motivation behind another character’s statement.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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