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.”

TIME TRAVELLING — MARISSA — 02

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The Grey — Photo by Paul Itkis

Chapter 02 — “Born” Anew

1300’s

When Anne was fifteen and her father gave her into marriage to the lord of the neighbouring estate, nobody could tell what kind of life she would lead from that day on.

Anne was desperately hiding in the grey place where she could run to hide and cry without being seen or heard.  After three years of childless marriage, when she understood that her husband would not shy from killing her in order to get himself a new wife and try again to produce an heir, she decided to play a desperate card and lie, pretending to be pregnant.

Her grey place was there for her anytime she was in trouble.  If she put her mind and soul to it, when in the grey she could find the things that would buy her some peace in the marriage.  Like when her father had passed on and there was no money left to her in his last will, because Father had remarried and begotten a son by his second wife; Anne had been threatened with a beating by her husband, as if she were at fault.  She had disappeared in her grey place and wished with all her heart for a pouch of gold to appease her husband, and a pouch full of gold was waiting for her there, like a miracle…

Now, at the end of her ninth month of faked pregnancy, she wished with all her heart for a new miracle, or her fate when returning to the colorful world outside would be certain death for lying to her husband about the child…  Through her crying, she heard a crying echo, an echo that grew to cover her own sobs.  A baby was crying not far from where she lay crushed by her unhappiness.  A new ray of hope bloomed in her heart.  The new miracle of a live, new born baby was too much to even hope for, but here she was, coalescing from the grey of the place.  A baby girl!  Oh joy!

She could not explain the miracle, though she could take advantage of it.  As soon as she made sure the baby was real , she shed the pillow that had been her proof of pregnancy, cut herself to smudge blood on the baby and on her clothes, then enveloped the tiny creature in her discarded maternity clothes and returned to the colorful world leaving baby’s pink coverings behind.

Soon, Anne was found lying on the ground, in the tilting yard, holding a tiny baby to her heart.  Her husband was angry but could not take his anger on her.  She was looking so beaten and suffering, now that she had been delivered of her baby…

He had not believed her, not in the beginning, when it could have been a lie to avoid lying with him, but her growing belly was proof enough, and now the baby, though a girl, was better than nothing.  He would let his useless wife live until the little girl could take care of herself, and then, just like her grandfather, would get rid of the mother and get a son by another wife.

In her chamber, cleaned and changed into new clothes, with a wet nurse to feed her new born baby, or better said, born anew baby, Anne spent the first month of her newfound motherhood pondering on a name for her little one.  She decided that to appease her husband she would let him name her after his dead mother, Lady Marissa.

 

The peace was short lived.  Anne knew her brother-by-law hated her, but not how much more he hated his older brother — her husband.  She continued to seek refuge in the grey, taking Marissa with her and teaching her little girl how to find things in the seeming nothingness into which she could so easily hide…  In a way, she felt that Marissa had a bigger affinity to the grey than ever she could hope to achieve.

Years passed and her marriage became visibly a mockery, as her husband, her lord and master, did not seek her bed anymore, but had many of the working women in the castle and the bailey to appease his needs.  And she was glad of the reprieve from marital obligations, but lived in continual fear of repercussions.

Strangely enough, her brother-by-law had taken a liking to little Marissa and even after a hasty marriage to the daughter of one of their retainers, very much under a heavy cloud of anger on everybody’s part, he continued to dote over his niece, so at least Anne did not need to fear for her daughter’s life.

When Marissa was in her fifth year of life, spring came with terrible rains and storms; all roads were washed out, making travelling nigh impossible.  But when the need arose to go to their liege lord for the annual visit with no excuses accepted, her parents could not beg out from this yearly obligation and they set on the journey leaving the girl home with her uncle and aunt.  It was a long drive and the cart was filled with pillows and furs to keep them comfortable and warm on the way, and of course the presents for the liege lord and his family, as custom required.

Anne had fallen asleep, tired of the interminable journey, when a noise like a mountain rolling down to smother them woke her up with a start.

The horses were puling wildly and trying to escape their traces, while her husband was furiously lashing them, as if that would change the cruel reality — the mountain was really rolling, taking them along for the ride.  Scared to death, Anne closed her eyes and wished with all her might to be safe in her grey place, and lo and behold — quiet replaced the terrible noise, the horses neighed and calmed in their turn, and her husband stopped cursing, stunned by the change.

They were in her grey place!  They were alive!  They could not go back!

Because nobody could explain what happened, she would be judged to be a witch and no matter that she had saved his life, her husband would take full advantage and make sure to get rid of her.  While he was still awe-struck of being alive, she wished herself into a place of peace and quiet for herself and interesting enough for him to let her survive.

And just like that, they were out of the grey and onto a field bordered by tall trees and far on the horizon they could see the tops of very tall buildings. A metal box on wheels, but without horses, was traveling the road towards them and she signalled it as if it was just another wagon…  Though covered in mud and looking far from their best, the man inside the box stopped the conveyance to ask if they needed help.  Anne smiled fetchingly and said she needed help, yes, so much help, please… as she descended from the cart and fell to the ground.

Her husband looked at her disgustedly and cared not that the unknown man took her in his arms saying, “I’ll take her to the hospital if you do not mind.  You will find her there, for I do not imagine you would prefer to abandon the cart and horses here.  The car will do the job much faster.  And by the way — I see you have some valuables in there — I suggest you cover and disguise them, if you do not want to be robbed before you reach the city.”

Thus, Anne got finally separated from her husband and promised herself to never get in touch with him again — enough was enough for a lifetime.  She also found out that her saviour was a magician with the local circus, though he went on tours quite frequently…  He was very solicitous and for his benefit, she had to make up a story about an accident which had left her without memory…  The Magician found her very much to his liking and after she was discharged from the hospital, he felt duty bound to care for her.  Soon he was far too entranced by her charms and by her disappearing talent, so that he asked her to share his life…

The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality

the-kingdom

 

 

This novel was provoked by the cruel realities of today’s world

Only this week it was announced that GM will let go between 1 and 2 thousand workers from their model plant in Canada and move their production in the States. GM makes money, Canadian Government makes money, and the workers are left in the rain and wind without cover!

This and failed small farms are the realities prompting this story, for they are not only today’s happenings, they have been going on for years…

Albert is so rich that his rich fellows in school called him “rich bitch”, but he can do nothing to change the world. He is a dreamer and visualizes this kingdom based on human needs and intrinsic goodness. He puts his own wealth into the realization of his dream, but his money, though plenty, is not enough. He needs other investors and thus, nobility is chosen and developed based on the amount invested. He starts by inviting the richest of his old colleagues from high school and three of them accept. A duke and two earls. The duke invites an old friend from college and now they have a marquees as well. Of course, Albert is king, but he has to take care of contracts and last minute arrangements and is between worlds most of the time, leaving the care of the kingdom in his nobles’ care.

They each recruit their retainers based on a very long and complicated questionnaire, the gist of which would be “leave all insecurities behind and never regret it, for once admitted there is no way back.

Albert loves his idea of a Medieval kingdom, and it seems everybody in it does too, but he has a dear friend whom he wants to marry and make his queen, and to convince her to leave the Modern world behind, he builds for her a palace to tempt a saint. Unhappily the beautiful woman and the tempting palace bring the serpent in the garden of Eden and Albert himself is not capable to fight for them. He is the dreamer, not the warrior.

Enters Jack, the loner, the man without wealth and without obligations aside of some debt incurred in the process of building a theater that in the end burns down leaving him without an aim as well. By a quirk of fate, Jack was Albert’s only friend in school, and now Albert comes to Jack’s rescue. They both could ride, but Jack could fence as well and had a streak of contrariness that made him fight for what he considered to be right even against terrifying odds. That is what Albert needs in order to save his kingdom — a Champion.

Jack is seduced to enter the kingdom thinking that he could leave anytime he chooses, is knighted and leaves on a discovery journey, a quest if you would… and just before he leaves is made aware of the perils he might encounter on the Duke’s fief. The Duke? Is he his old school nemesis? Should he leave now?Too late. Jack is in love with the kingdom and with the future queen and can no more leave without feeling he is betraying his old friend Albert.

The saga begins and I will not tell it to you. You must read the book.

I only want to ask the author if he thought of a continuation of next generations. The kingdom is on a lease for 99 years. Will it end just like Hong-Kong did? Will it finally clash with the modern world? Canadian Government is not known for taking the right decisions, so there is plenty of room for new conflicts in the new generations…

For the moment we live inside Utopia, but what if loggers cut the woods surrounding the kingdom? What if they bring technology, medicine and pollution with them? What if oil is discovered in the very neighbouring valleys? What if modern army is brought to subdue the wild men living like “savages” in the middle of nowhere? So, let us hear about a sequel, and soon!

 

For More Information

The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality is available at: Amazon, My Book Orders,, Barnes & Noble, Kobo,and other retailers.

“The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality” book tour – Apr. 20th — May 20th

gahanbooktour

Author Gahan Hanmer on his Virtual Book Tour starting April 20th, sponsored by The YP Publishing.

Would if you were able venture back to the Middle Ages without going back in time? Live in a castle, become a knight and travel on horseback?

Gahan Hanmer will be joining us on May 7th. We will be talking about his book The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality.”

There will be Contests * Giveaways * Reviews * Interviews

This Giveaway is open Internationally.
PRIZES 1 Winners will each receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash.

Learn More About Gahan Hanmer and His Book by Clicking on the Link Below:

http://thekingdomontheedgeofreality.com/thekingdomontheedgeofrealitybooktour.htm

 

5 Ideas of How We, Together With our Children, Can Bring Magic Into our Lives

Author Rocsanne Shields

I finished writing this book in early 2007, but I took my sweet time deciding what to do next.

In March 2010, I heard on the TV about a town (Detroit) in which the mayor had taken over the empty houses and the lots around them, to be used for the greater good of the town. There were too many empty houses left by their owners who could no more pay their dues. According to newsmax.com “city-hall takes over 23.000 abandoned houses.”

The story is not short, but very sad and very true — there were 33,000 abandoned houses, out of which 10,000 were too decrepit to be repaired and were to be demolished, the rest of 23,000 to be taken over by the city and used to produce income and save the city.  Aside from the houses there were 91,000 urban lots abandoned and polluted by trash.  The population had declined from 2 mill. in its days of glory, to less than one mill. in 2010.

How close to my story! It is frightening to know that fantasy walks so close to reality.  Though the process had started some time before the recession, it became accelerated by the closure of the automotive factories in Detroit, Michigan USA. Detroit’s magic will be provided by the government in the guise of loans and grants for the beautification of the city and advertising for new businesses to come and bring much needed jobs with them (50% of population was unemployed in 2010, at the time the article was written).

I think that people can do a lot to improve their lot, and their children are a major factor in implementing any plan.  It is their future they should fight for.  Here are the ideas I suggest for bringing the magic back in our lives:

1. Organize teams to keep the city clean.

Many a time I come home to find somebody had thrown empty cans of pop on the side of the street, coming to roost in the side ditch.  Children and young adults can help.  They are the next generation of workers, thinkers, and artists.  It is our duty to help them understand that if we destroy the environment, there will be nothing left to save in next decades.  They may organise through school, church, or just plain by neighbourhood, and help keep streets clean and green.

2. Start buying “Made in Canada”.

Once I heard President Obama say “Buy American”.  He was right but, not politically correct!  He changed the music to “buy global”.  But he was right.  Buy Canadian and support the Canadian economy.  Without our support, it is going the way of the Do-Do bird…

Parents and children together, by buying only local products will contribute to reinforce the local agriculture and the small entrepreneurs.  There is strength in numbers. This may preserve jobs from disappearing.

3. Encourage the farmers’ markets.

If we use all arable land to build houses and malls, we’ll be always buying our food from outside our country.  Already the Canadian agriculture is suffering.  We need to encourage the farmers markets, and teach all our friends and family members of all ages to do the same.

4. Follow the example of other children.

We hear all the time about children of ten or twelve who have already started to organize their friends, and gather money to help those in need.  It is very important to support their actions and encourage others to do the same, and not only for places struck by disasters.  The way the economy is oriented, we’ll have financial disasters like the banking one in USA, or the automotive crisis in North America and Europe in their generation as well.

Children can do lots to save a community.  “Canadian children help earthquake victims” is the story of Bilaal Rajan who started his crusade of helping children in need from the age of four, when he sold clementine oranges door to door. The $350 he raised was to help the 2001 earthquake victims in Gujarat, India…  After the hurricane of 2004 that ravaged Haiti, he formed a team of 12 other children to help sell the cookies his father’s company donated for this effort.  In October 2004, Bilaal and his team-mates presented UNICEF with a cheque for $6,387 from cookies sold by them door-to-door.  He was seven. By the time of the article, in 2007, he was eleven, and had already gathered $50,000 by himself. You can read more at http://www.bilaalrajan.com/about_bilaal.html :

“What a legacy Bilaal has begun– and in 2007 he’s only now 11 years of age! Your partnering with this visionary young man will make it possible for him to raise the consciousness of even the youngest of souls on the planet, and instill in them the purpose that so many of our lives lack today. In so doing, they will learn the importance of being of service to others, and will be primed to continue this work in brilliant ways in the future, leaving the world a better place than they found it, and keeping Bilaal’s dream alive…”  He also set up a dedicated website, ( www.handsforhelp.org ) to raise awareness for children in need.

5. Children should be exposed to good examples on the media.

If we start asking for such programmes, I’m sure the TV producers will listen to our voices and will find ideas for a series of shows to encourage good deeds among children and young adults.  Today Facebook is almost more important than TV.  Let’s have short movies taken while working for a good cause, instead of movies of kids beating kids.

I like to think that young people can get organized for good just as they get organized for crime.  Instead of choosing the easiest way to obtain satisfaction, they should help each other to better themselves, not to beat or bully the weaker among them.  This is our true magic.  Together we can change the conditions — locally and globally.