Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chapters X & XI (Eleanor's Side of the Story)

Again, this is part of the story that I am collaborating on with a good friend of mine. To read the start of the story, go to:!

Chapter X
~The carving, Breath, Little John~

The wind seemed to caress my face as I left the yard of the house. The sun had only just come up and was still peeking halfway through the trees that abutted our land on the far left. I made my way to the right where two miles down the road was Sherwood Forest and a large hill that sloped steeply up to meet the dense green foliage. I didn’t care that I had on my best dress; my deepest desire was to be alone with no worries hanging over my head and the hill that rose to meet the Wood was my best bet for that.

It didn’t take me long to reach the hill, and I was soon climbing to gain the first row of trees that gave shade, for by now the sun had rose and was ascending still. Upon reaching the trees, I looked for the barely discernable deer path that my mother had pointed out to me early in my childhood. There… there it was; still leading into the dark foreboding forest that had been our haunt for many an outing. I wrapped my deep green and rich blue shawl tighter around me as I pushed back the hanging branches and ventured deep into Sherwood Forest. The Wood was ancient and I was not the first to dare step in, although it had been years since anyone had walked or hunted this area of the Wood. As I pushed on, I could see my destination with the help of the green and gold light that filtered through the trees high over head. A clearing was where the ancient deer path led. A small clearing with one tree centered in the middle as if holding court with all the other young trees that stood at attention beside it. An oak. Its trunk was so massive that I would never be able to reach my arms all the way around it. Neither could my father’s long war strengthened arms. As I approached the tree, I could still see the carving near the bottom: Eleanor, First Daughter of Wilhelm of Kenton Hall. My work worn fingers traced the deep groves in the tree. My mother had done it a week after I was born and had brought me up here year after year to remind me.

I sat down under the great royal tree and for a moment just allowed my eyes to remain closed as I sat and just breathed. When was the last time I had been able to just breathe? Ages it seemed. I felt as old as the tree I sat under. When finally I looked at the sky, the sun had risen to reach mid day. I smiled to myself as I remembered that I did not have to jump up and get anything done. If I wished it, I could sit here all day long.

Suddenly, I could hear the sound of steady breathing in the silent clearing. With no animals in sight I looked over the area to see what animal or man I had missed. There was nothing. The breathing continued and I shrank back till I could get no closer to the old giant of a tree. I stood there frozen, until I realized that the breathing was that of a man not stalking me, but that of a man asleep. I let myself pry my shaking fingers from the trunk of the tree and began walking around it to see who could be sleeping in my clearing. For yes, I did consider this to be my clearing.

I clutched a large branch in my hand as I began to circle the great Oak. My father had taught me self defense before he left for the Holy Land, and five years without a man’s protection had made me hard and able to fight back, although I had yet to come across anyone stupid enough to attack the daughter of a Lord.

I stopped in shock when I saw what, or who I should say, had been making that noise. There on the other side of the tree slept a man I had never seen before. He was a giant, his length nearing two of mine and I was no short woman. His jet black hair was drawn back behind him with a leather piece of rope. His clothes were all deep green and brown in color that only enforced the dark look of him. His brow was free of lines as he slept on contentedly, with no knowledge of me as I looked on. He seemed young and yet he also had the look of someone who had seen much. As I stood there like an eejit gazing at his angular nose and jaw line I soon realized that he reminded me of someone I had known long ago.

“Little John?” I spoke before I could help myself. I immediately slapped a hand over my mouth as I realized that I had spoken my thought out loud.

With a start the giant woke and before I could mutter another word he was up and had drawn the massive bow that had lain at his side. With sleep still in his eyes he looked shocked to find well dressed young women before him with a large tree branch in her hand.

Chapter XI
~John, Solider, Homecoming~

“Little John?” I stuttered again. It was such a shock. We had been told that he was dead long ago. His family had held a funeral. What on earth was he doing in Sherwood Forest? Was this even him? He was so tall! All these thought ran through my head like a wild horse, leaving marks but still not making sense.

“Little John, is it really you?” I questioned him while keeping a strong hold on my tree branch.

“Who… who are you?” He managed to ask as his deep voice reverberated though the small clearing.

“They… they told us you were dead, John. Dead. For three years you have been dead.”

“I… Eleanor? What are you doing here?”

“What? No one but dead people are allowed here? Is that it?” I realized that I had dropped my tree branch and was standing there with my arms crossed as I stood there looking daggers at John. We had been good friends all through childhood. Our parents had been close. But four years ago when he was eighteen, his best friend, Robin of Locksley, had decided to go to the Holy Land and fight in the war there. Young John had signed up to go along with him and gain the glory and prestige that came with going to war. But one year after he had gone we received word that he was dead. Killed by a Saracen arrow. His family had been devastated. And I was with them in their grief, for short spindly Little John had always been kind to me as a young girl, even when the other boys made fun of him. He was a warm and kind soul.

“Eleanor, I can’t believe it’s you!” His deep blue eyes crinkled in his warm smile as he lowered his bow and took a step towards me. I backed away.

“How long have you been in the country? A week? A month? Your family is sick with the knowledge that you are dead. How could you let them suffer whilst you sleep under a tree?” Although I mentioned family, my real anger was at him not telling me. We had been so close. But war changed men. I had already seen it in my father.

“I’ve been here for six months. I couldn’t come to my family. You don’t understand. It’s complicated.”

“How can it be complicated? You’re back. And obviously not dead. What is so hard to explain about that?”

“Eleanor, will you sit with me?” He asked as he gestured to the ground beneath the tree, “It’s a bit of a story and may take time to tell.” And with that, be bent his large frame and sat down on the ground.

Although I was furious with him over the way he was treating the issue, I sat down with arms crossed and soon loosened as I listened to him talk. It took me back to sit there and listen to his smooth voice go over his past four years. He told of how Robin and he had joined the soldiers in the desert and had fought many battles even in the first few months of their time there. He then told of the one battle that had almost taken his life. Whilst he was still in the grips of a fever, a solider he knew who was going back to his homeland had asked Robin if he should give any message to John’s family back home. Robin had asked him to tell John’s family that John might not make it and to pray for him. But apparently the solider had taken it upon himself to tell the family that John was dead. John shook his head as I told him of the funeral and the deep grief of his family.

“When I meet Ron of Lexington again I shall kill him.” He muttered.

John then proceeded to tell of his last three years in service with Robin of Locksley. He tried to soften how horrid it had really been. But even after four years I could read him like a book and I knew that much had transpired that he might never tell me. He then spoke of when he and Robin returned to England. They soon realized that Prince John was ruining the people of England with his outrageous taxes while his brother was off fighting the war. Robin being the hot head that he is, decided that they should help a family while they were on the road home. They just happened to cross the wrong side of Prince John and had become wanted men. Little John explained that this was why he would not reveal himself to his family. It could cost them their land, wealth, and possibly their lives. He then began to excitedly tell me of what he and Robin had been doing in Sherwood Forest. Of the ‘good works’ as he called them, that they had been doing for the people of the surrounding areas.


As I walked up the road to my house, my mind was running wild with all that Little John (now Big John) had told me. I was so distracted that it didn’t faze me when Marian came running up to me all out of breath.

“Eleanor!” She gasped. “Where have you been?” And with that she grabbed my hand and dragged me back to the house.
~Aithne Someris~

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chapter 9 (Eleanor's View)

The contiuation of the "Eleanor and Marian" story that I am collaborating on with my good friend on the blog - Let us know what you think!


The fire was dying down with a crackling sound and the moon had been in the sky for hours by the time we had all finished talking that first night. We told Father of the past five years and all that had transpired in that time. Of the new sheriff and all that evil man had done. The taxation that had bled the county dry; the famines that had come and gone. And Father told us of the far desert country he had spent these long years in. The Saracens and their weapons; of battle fought and battles lost; of friends and enemies; and of his homesickness that dogged him at every turn. Father was sleeping by the time the fire was down. I had Cecily go and get blankets to cover him while Marian and I built up the fire again. I sent the girls up to bed, but I lingered down below watching the man that all our hopes were pinned on. In his sleep he twitched and his brow bunched into angry furrows. What had this war done to him?


I was up before dawn the next morning with the sky still dark and the last thought of night present. After going out for eggs I was in the kitchen beginning breakfast. Nan’s day off was every other Saturday, and so I was on my own today. I loved working in the kitchen early in the morning before everyone else was up. It gave me time to think without constant distractions.

I cracked an egg into a wooden bowl and began making biscuits. All of a sudden Father walked into the kitchen. We said good morning to each other and I turned back to my cooking. He went to the corner and sat in the rocking chair that Nan used to knit when the weather was coming up on the colder months. For quite some time we both said nothing. I worked on content with the knowledge that he was home safe and sound.

Then he spoke, “Oh Eleanor, I should never have left you here with the girls.” And he sighed.

“Father, there was a war,” I said stopping my work to look at him, “All able bodied men were called. You had to go.”

Rubbing a hand over his weary face he shook his head, “I could have paid to have another go in my place. I could have stayed and helped raise the girls. No little girl should be forced to become mother to her little sisters, when she herself was a child.”

I truly didn’t know what to say. It had been my secret thought for five years now that I should never have had to take over the care of my sisters. But the only way that could have been avoided would have been if my mother hadn’t died. But what was done was done. There was no going back. I didn’t want Father to regret what he had to do. Although he was blaming himself now, I knew that the blame would be pointed elsewhere soon enough.

“Father,” I walked over and laid my hand on his broad shoulder, “You did your duty to your country. Everyone had to make sacrifices. Even if you had stayed, we would have paid dearly in some way. And besides,” I said straitening up, “Raising the girls would have been my chore if you had stayed anyway.”

“You are a wise one, Eleanor.” Father said as he grasped my hand, “I owe you so much. How would we have gotten through these past five years without you?”

“You did your duty and I did mine.” I said with more courage than I felt. In truth, I wanted to cry.

Father let go of my hand and stared at the kitchen fire on the other side of the room. I walked over to the table and began cooking again. I wish he could throw off the dense fog of depression. It was a joyful day that he was now back home. Why keep looking at the bleak past?

“Eleanor,” he said breaking my thoughts, “Why don’t you take a day off. Go and have fun. Leave the house and go to town or something. I owe you that much at least.”

I turned to him in surprise. A day off? I couldn’t even remember the last time I had a whole day to myself. With no cooking, cleaning, sewing or watching the girls and farm animals.

“Really?” I barely dared to breathe.

“Yes. Go and wake Marian to have her finish the breakfast. You go wash up and get dressed.”

I rushed over to Father and hugged him. This gift he had just given me was worth more than anything he could have brought back from the Holy Land. I went up the stairs two at a time to wake Marian. She normally got up right as dawn was coming. She seemed to have a fascination with watching the morning color rise. Going into her room I was not surprised to see her just waking.

“Hurry up, sleepy head.” I said as I brought her clothes for the day.

“What’s with you? I’ll be down in a few minutes.” She said a bit snappily. The first hour after she woke was not her best on terms of cheerfulness.

“Father needs you to finish making breakfast.”

And with that I had left the room and was in mine getting dressed for a day of no work. Seeing as I was not going to work, I chose my best dress and my oriental shawl that Father had brought back for me.

~Aithne Someris~

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A new addition to the Jack saga

This will be my last posting of the 'Jack Saga' for quite some time. I recently had a revelation on where I'd like this story to go and what is to happen, but I will not have the time to really concentrate and write it all out until my schooling is finished. So, here is another addition, but the rest will come in a few months. And I am pretty sure that names and places may changes as well as the fact that I may go into writing it as first person and not third. But I hope you have been enjoying Jack's story so far - I've enjoyed writing him!


Jack took a sip of his Guinness all the while laughing at Ian's discomfort over the barmaid subject. Why a grown twenty year old man would be embarrassed over it was beyond him. But Brian had always been the more outgoing of the two. And therefore had been a bit more lucky with the Ladies over the years.

"Ach, Ian," Said Jack, "Just go ask her out."

"Yeah, not right now." said Ian as he brushed Jack off.

Suddenly Jack's cell phone was vibrating in his jean pocket.

Reaching to retrieve his phone, Jack apologized, "Sorry guys, but I have to take this." He said after looking at the caller ID. It was his 90 year old great grandmother who lived in a nursing home not far out in the suburbs of Dublin.

"'ello Gran" He answered.

"Jack my boy!" Cackled the voice on the other end, "How are ye, Laddie?"

"I'm doing fine, Gran. And how is my favorite lass in the world?"

"Ah, you're a smooth one, Jack Matthews, that ya are." And Jack could hear her smile through the phone.

"I've been t'inkin'," She said, "You haven't been to see me in quite some time now."

Guilt swept through Jack, "I'm sorry, Gran," He apologized, "But school's been just crazy this past month!"

"Well, to make up for it how about you come over to see yer auld Gran tomorrow?"

Jack's mind went through all that he had to get done on Tuesday. Jack sighed as he looked out the grimy pub window out at the rain that was still pounding the city streets outside. No matter how hectic life got - family always comes first.

"Sure thing, Gran." Jack found himself saying.

"Aw, that's a good lad!" Cackled the merry voice, "And I've got a pressie 'er waitin' for ya too!"

"Oh Gran, not more of Mrs McCourt's cookies? Please no, Grannie!" Exclaimed Jack in feigned terror.

"You silly boy," Laughed Gran, "It's much better than that!"

"Well, it better not be brownies either! I can't stand the blasted stuff!"

"Do ya really t'ink that I'd bribe my great grandson with over-cooked pastries? Really boy? I thought I was better than that."

Jack laughed, "You win, Gran. You win. I'll see you tomorrow after work around two o'clock. Sound good?"

"Of course I win! Have I e'er lost?" The feisty woman challenged.

"Ok, I have to go now," Said Jack closing the conversation, "See you tomorrow!"

"Alrighty Jack-o, see you at two o'clock sharp."

"I'll be there, Gran." Jack said with a laugh, "Bye now! Love you!"

"Love you too, Jack-o." and the line clicked off.

Jack walked away from the window and slid back into his seat at the booth. Brian and Ian had almost finished their drinks by the time Jack was able to take a third sip of his.

"Your secret girlfriend again?" Inquired Brian.

Smiling, Jack answered, "Nope. Just Gran. I haven't seen her in a month and she was just calling to make sure I hadn't fallen off the face of the planet."

"Poor thing is probably lonely." Ian said, all the while glancing from his empty drink to the bar and pretty lass.

"Don't make me feel even worse than I already do!" Cried Jack as he took another swig of his Guinness and shoved his phone back into his pocket.

"So, you gonna go see her soon?" Brian asked.

"Yeah, tomorrow after work I'll head out there. I don't know when I'll get that paper research done, but I owe her."

"Well," said Brian, "We'd better get going. I'll give you a ring later about looking over the the money stuff."

"That'd be great," Jack replied, "It was good seeing you guys! Take care."

The two brothers got up, and after leaving a tip went to the front to pay their half of the bill. Jack stifled his laughter as Ian fumbled with his wallet to pay the barmaid who also worked the cash register. The man was hopeless, thought Jack. The two brothers payed and walked out of the pub with waves to Jack. After they were gone Jack sighed at the quiet that now permeated the pub.

Jack took up his now empty glass and went to return it to the bar.

"Can I help you?" Asked the bar maid.

"Just returning this." Answered Jack while handing the glass to her.

"That friend of yours is a bit of a klutz, eh." She said with a smile.

"Actually, I think he was a bit taken with you." Jack said with a smile as well.

She laughed and rolled her eyes, "And so is every man I give a Guinness to!"

"I don't think he was drunk, if that's what you're implying," Jack said defensively, "The man was genuinely infatuated with you."

"Sorry, Mate." the bar maid apologized, "It's just that working in a bar you get used to the 'infatuated' man hitting on ya. It gets old after a while."

"I understand." Jack paid his bill and went out into the now drizzling rain cascading over the city. As he walked to his appartment he thought on how much work Ian would have to do to win that bar maid. She would not be an easy woman to woo.

~Aithne Someris~

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Eleanor's Side of the Story (a collaboration on the Robin Hood tale)

I recently began collaborating on a story with a good friend of mine. We're writing a tale about the women's side of the Robin Hood story. Marian's tale will be written by my friend, while I will write the part of Eleanor, Marian's older sister. This is my first part.

To read the start - go to!


Eleanor’s Side of the Story
~ Chapter 5 ~
Missing, Marian, a Mess

Where is that girl? I thought impatiently as my foot inadvertently tapped on the floor. Marian had gone off to the market with Cecily earlier in the day, but Cecily had just returned from Locksley. Without Marian. Marian had gone off to get candles only to not been seen since, said Cecily with a pout on her large red lips. After waiting forever, Cecily had decided that Marian could walk home by herself.

I shook my head, What was that girl thinking? Father was due home at any time now and there was much to do before he got here. After fighting in the Crusade for five years, Father was on his way home. Why would Marian choose now to go missing? Many prayers had been said and now that Father was on his way back, we had made preparations for a small feast in his honor. I had sent Marian out half to get her out of my hair and half because we really did need those candles. But now she was gone. Why must she always be so flighty? It was our Mother’s blood in her, that’s what. I went cold for a moment, allowing the hidden memories of my beloved Mother to surface for a small time. She had died ten years past and I had never truly gotten over it. I shook myself; time to get to work.


“Cecily!” I called out.

“What?” Answered my youngest sister from the other room where she was arranging wild flowers for Father, “I’m almost finished!”

“Cecily, has Marian come back yet?”

Cecily looked at me with her big green eyes. It was like seeing my Father look out at me, “I haven’t seen her.” Cecily shrugged, “Sorry.”

I sighed, “It’s not your fault. If only Marian could keep herself still for long enough to help us…” I let my thought trail off. My mind was roving over what could have possibly kept Marian away from a day like this. Suppose she was not just avoiding work, but truly in trouble?

Chapter Six
Father, Solider, Joy

As I went around the house tidying up for the hundredth time, a loud commotion soon reached my ears. It seemed to be coming from the kitchen, and as I looked in, there was Marian. Knee deep in mud, her light brown hair cascading over her shoulders loose from it previous bond of a ribbon, and a deep brown smear on her back completed her ensemble. As I stepped in to the kitchen I could smell something permeating from her. It was…ew…dung! All my pleasure at seeing her alive and well rushed out of me at the sight of her stinking up my kitchen and looking like a village idiot as she stood there letting Cecily and Nan, our cook, clean her up.

“Where have you been all this time?” I said as I stepped into the warm kitchen, “Rolling with the pigs?”

“No!” Sputtered Marian, “I have not!” And her deep blue eyes turned the color of a sea tempest raging at the injustice of the world. How dare she make it sound like I did something wrong!

Continued to try and pry from her what had happened, but to no avail. She refused to explain. I soon set into her with all my elder sister might over what a proper young lady of the realm should look like after a day at market. But I was only met with indifference which I could not stand. But for all her raggle taggle appearance, she had a strange look in her eye. It was as if she held a secret and dared not share it with the world. I would have to work hard to reach this part of her.

“Go to your room and change this instant!” I told her a bit more severely than I meant to. Why must my temper always flare up with this young sister of mine?


I sat in the rocking chair near the fire stitching when the sound of a horse coming near was heard. I leapt off of the chair and nearly flew to the door to peer out praying that it was Father. Heavy boots could be heard tromping up the stairs to our front door. A weary knock soon tapped at the door. I flung it open to see Father standing there. He looked nothing like the man we had said good-bye to five years past. In his stead stood a weary solider.

I couldn’t help it as I flung myself into his arms, “Father!” I could hear myself squeal, but I cared not that it was un-lady like. His large muscled arm circled my and he seemed to be breathing a sigh of relief.

“Oh Eleanor, lass.” He said as I clutched him to me, “I’ve missed ya so!”

“And I’ve missed you, Father! Ever so much!” I said chokingly.

He let me down, “And where are my other little ladies?” He roared loudly in his deep voice. It was paradise to hear it ring in the halls again!

“Father!” Shrieked Cecily as she ran to him, her flaming red hair trailing behind her.

I stood and watched as my drained Father reached out to her and embraced her. I took the time to look at my Father and how much he had changed since I last saw him. His fiery red hair was now streaked with gray and dirt. His rough hands worn and bruised. His clothes seemed to hang on him, subjecting that he had lost weight over in the Holy Land.