TIME TRAVELLING — MARISSA — 04

Medieval Pilgrim - Free Photo
Medieval Pilgrim – Free Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 04 — Marissa’s Fate

 

In the Spring of her fifth year, her parents had left her in her uncle’s care and never returned from their journey, their bodies never found.  The mountain, sapped by rains, had fallen on top of the road they were traveling on and had covered them and two others from their party.  Those who had escaped with their lives had no memory of events of that night and nobody was going to dig under the mountain of dirt to try and recover bodies or valuables they had taken with them to offer their liege lord at the annual meeting…

She was orphaned and if she did not do her uncle’s bidding, she could forget of her lady status and find work to support herself.  A child was not good at hard work, aside work in the kitchens…  But doing as she was bid did not mean she agreed, or that she liked it.  Her aunt was not an especially bad woman, but compared with her own mother, this one was simply evil.

Her uncle liked her and they could have done well together, but his wife, her aunt, was a totally different matter.  She had made it clear from the very beginning, on the day after the news of her parents’ death had arrived brought by the few who had escaped the mud avalanche.  Marissa was good for only one thing – a good alliance through marriage.  Now, after six years, the aunt had found the BOY, to force the girl out of the castle through marriage.  Mayhap, Marissa thought, she could manage to find some secrets and thus compensate the betrothal event that seemed would change her fate so much!

Her grey place was wide and large, bigger than her Mam’s had been.  She could reach it from any place, but better without witnesses.  She had well learned from her Mam — never have witnesses or they could hold it over your head and bring all kind of mischief and misfortune.

She could walk through the grey, and if she thought about a place she wanted to be, next she came out of the grey exactly where she had wished.  How about wishing to be in the grey but close enough to the people in a room to hear them talking?  She did not know how it worked, but as soon as she tried, it was clear that she could go as close as she wanted to hear their voices through the wall of grey…  She had found she could do thus soon after her betrothal, by sheer chance…

Now that she had discovered she could advance in her grey space close enough to people to hear them, Marissa decided that it was a good idea to pass her time listening when she thought secrets were about to be discussed.  There was a slight danger of being found out, but her affinity to her grey space was very special indeed, as her Mam had explained to her — she was almost born there and such was the power of grey that she could ask for anything at all and, as long as she could imagine it, it would be given her.

A pity she did not spend more time listening to her uncle and aunt.   They were not nice.  Her uncle and her aunt were at each other’s throat every day, all day long.  And what they said meant they were murderers…  Even her parents’ death seemed to have been provoked by a small quantity of black powder exploded by one of her father’s men, one who did not escape his own evilness.

Marissa hoped that her mother had got out into the grey in time but she could not be sure, as she had not had any sign from her in all this time…  And all at once, through their death, she was a rich heiress.  On top of that, as her betrothed’s father had met his end in a most gruesome accident she was next to inherit after Peter…  It was an accident only for those who knew not the truth.  Her guardians had arranged for the accident to happen and for the BOY to be accused…not of a crime, but of grave negligence, and now he was hiding and nobody knew where he was.  All that was needed was for him to bed her and then to die as well, for the marriage contract to come full force, making her the sole heir of the old lord — his Father.

That convinced her to leave her uncle’s castle and find refuge in the grey — at least for a while, to gather her thoughts and decide what to do, (and of course — to spy some more).  From that moment on, she was seen only sporadically, mostly in the kitchen, where she visited in order to get more victuals, but not long enough to get spoken to…  Two years had passed, and there was talk of getting her a new betrothal.  True, she could take ownership of her missing husband-to-be properties, but it was not yet right.  The BOY was still alive, or so claimed her Aunt.

Marissa needed an ally and the only one she could think of, was Peter, the BOY.  Finding him was no problem, if she looked for him from her grey, but she needed to be strong enough to pass for a boy, for she had decided not to be at anybody’s hand again.  Her guardians were bad enough to last her for a whole lifetime.  She was already a consummate rider, but one could not take horses in all possible situations, so Marissa took to walking longer and longer distances and carrying bigger and bigger loads.  She needed suitable clothes and started taking from her mother’s old chest things that seemed made for her measure, so much did she resemble her mother, at least in stature, if not in any other way…

Soon she thought herself well prepared and set out to find the BOY.  He must be seventeen by now, and if the promises of old came true, he would be a good enough knight to serve her purposes.  She was not clear yet about those, but some kind of revenge for being made orphans by the same wicked people was her dearest wish.

 

TIME TRAVELLING — MARISSA — 03

lovershandssmall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting of Medieval Hands, Kodak EasyShare M340

Chapter 03 — Marissa’s Betrothal

 

Whom should I kill tonight?  My stupid uncle or his bitchy wife?  Marissa could not make up her mind.  It was her favorite game to pass her time, trying to imagine life without those who did not love her…

If only her parents were still alive, she would not have had to kiss that pimply boy and let him hold her hand all through the betrothal ceremony.

At eleven, Marissa had better things to do than to get tied to the shy, self-conscious, stupid, stupid, stupid boy.  But her stupid Uncle and bitchy Aunt had decreed it was high time she stopped tree climbing and started being useful.

How could they do such a thing to her?  Peter, her newly betrothed, had a glaring pimple on the tip of his nose and all through the ceremony Marissa could think of only one thing — in the end the pimple was bound to touch her when he would try to kiss her, and then, it would burst open inundating the chapel with its disgusting contents…

But in the end, he did kiss her without accident, and just out of contrariness, she had bit him instead of letting it go without comment.  He had it coming, had he not?

One thing still puzzled her — what was making her so upset? the pimple by itself, the pimple refusing to burst, or the boy who did know how to kiss?  As she pounded the grey soil in her grey space pondering this weighty subject, she came too close to the real world and heard voices that seemed known to her.  One was her betrothed’s, the other his father’s.  And they were talking about her, or maybe more about the betrothal and indirectly about her.

“What do you think of your new in-laws?” asked the father’s voice.  “I wonder they did not cancel the contract when you came with those buboes on your face.”  The young voice laughed and answered, “Father, I’m sure they would love your properties with or without buboes.  They did the contract without asking to see me first.  Does that mean nothing to you?”

“Son, I wonder where you got your practical mind.  They definitely wanted an alliance with our family, and the waiting period they asked to allow Marissa to grow into her womanhood was well justified.  Talking about your bride, how do you think you two will do together?”

“When I bowed to your decision, Father, I did not think I would like her, but she is a little minx, and I’m sure if her guardians will not interfere we’ll deal well enough among ourselves.”

“I’m glad you think so, my Son.  You know I love you and would see you happy in your married life.  She’s only eleven and will grow to be a beauty like her mother, and hopefully not a shrew like her Aunt.  And now, wipe those buboes from your face, or you’ll make me go without the evening meal.”  Marissa laughed highly amused to know the pimples were fake.  She was too close to the two men, for one of them asked, “Did you hear that?” but she had run away through her grey and did not wait to hear any more of their comments.  Knowing they both liked her was enough.  Now she could be honest with herself and agree she did like Peter too.

A pity father and son were leaving on the morrow and she would not see them again until the wedding, in four years time.

***

Unknown to her, father and son continued their discussion, and it was about her!

“Did you hear that?” asked Peter.

“What do you mean, hear that?”

“Like somebody laughed in the distance…”

The father looked a bit puzzled and then smiled and said, “You should know that there is a legend about one of Marissa’s ancestors, a great-great-grandmother of her mother’s.  It seems people believed she could hear their thoughts and tried to burn her as a witch, but when the pyre was lighted, a huge cloud of smoke covered everybody around and when it dissipated, there was no body left in the fire, and some believed they heard her laughing in the distance.  If you start hearing laughter, pay attention to your new bride — she may be a witch without knowing.  Then, if you do not want to stay married, ’twill be a good reason for you to use to break the contract…”

“I hope you are not thinking seriously to cancel the contract.  I told you I like her.”

“Yes, but I start having doubts about her family.  They were very insistent that you should live with her family and that I should endow you with all our properties even before your wedding.  Too grasping for my liking.”

“Why should they insist?  They know there is no other son to take over your possessions were I not to return from one unfortunate skirmish.”

“Exactly — too grasping by far… Let us forget this and go enjoy your betrothal festivities.”