From my fantasy trilogy, SAGE.
Karol Meets Moder
excerpt from THE FALL OF ONAGROS, Book 1 of SAGE
by Marian Allen
Karol found the narrow path where it led into the river. Water slipped over it but the men were behind her, still distant, moving slowly because they were searching so carefully, but coming all the same. She removed her belt of leather tooled in gold and kilted up her skirts. She waded into the water.
She came ashore and hid herself behind some trees. Behind the trees, like a welcoming bed behind green curtains, were a clearing and a cottage.
Goats and geese and an old woman in the doorway all stared at her. The only sound was the hum of honeybees flashing through the air like bubbles in disturbed water.
The old woman took a clay pipe from her mouth and smiled with more teeth than good humor. “Well done,” she said.
“Let me rest a while. Then I’ll go on.”
“Go back, you mean,” said the old woman. “You’re on an island, you know.”
“I didn’t know.”
“Wild Ass Island, in Fiddlewood River, in Fiddlewood, near Pazni, in the realm of Layounna, blessed under Her Grace, Kinninger Karol beren Ada. Did you know any of that?”
“More than that. Her Grace is dead.”
“Is she, now? Then why were those men looking for her?”
Karol didn’t answer.
“I knew they were fools before I saw them,” the old woman said, making no move from her doorway. “I could hear them cursing their horses for stumbling on ground the men wouldn’t walk. Making enough noise to drive any quarry to earth, alive or dead.”
“May I stay here until they’ve gone? Until they’ve gone, and the path is open again?”
The old woman drew on her pipe, while her eyes of dreadful blue met Karol’s. Karol felt that gaze almost physically; she felt it reach inside her, down into her heart, and shock it into thumping life.
“My name is… Cinnie,” said Karol. “Cinnie beren Moder.”
“‘Beren Moder’? You’re an orphan, then?”
“Yes. Yes, I am. Please…. Shelter…. Just for a little while.”
The old woman moved, and Karol saw she walked with a cane.
“Come in,” the old woman said. “Dish me up some supper. You have some, too, and we’ll find you somewhere to sleep. Moder Zglaria is what I’m called, so maybe you belong here, Cinnie beren Moder.”
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Your main character take refuge under a false identity.