It took a little longer for me to finish than I’d hoped but here’s part three of The Crossing. For those of you who haven’t already read them, or for anyone who wants to refresh their memory of what happened, here are the links to Part One and Part Two. I hope you like it!
The Crossing: Part Three
Genre: historical: early C13th England
He had to keep going.
Dair stumbled through the trees, forcing one foot after the other. His thoughts threatened to drift, wandering into confusion, into memories of pain and fear and horror. He locked onto thoughts of home and his Mother. The river, his days of captivity, lay behind him. The road to their fief lay only a little way ahead.
He just had to keep going.
Unfortunately his body was finding it increasingly difficult to obey. Cold had settled deep, draining him of energy. Even his shivering had stopped.
He leant heavily against a tree trunk. He needed a moment. Just a moment…
His eyes drifted closed.
Even in grief, with eyes red-rimmed and cheeks tear-stained, she was beautiful. Randel wanted to hold her but knew it was not his place.
His guilt dragged him down. It was his job to keep the forest clear of vermin and he had failed. Her husband and son were killed by brigands on his watch. He was also ashamed to admit that, at the sight of Hugh lying in a pool of blood on the road, he’d felt a flare of relief, of hope. She was finally free.
All that had really changed was that now he came second to a dead man.
“What of Dair…? My younger son. He was with them, too.”
He had not seen the boy. Hope bloomed in her eyes.
“Find him, Randel,” she begged, her soft brogue stirring his senses.
How could he refuse?
Word Count: 248
It’s now looking like this story is going to be the beginning of a much longer piece – it’s taken on a life of its own! I seem to have spent hours researching, trying to decide exactly when its set, who the characters are, their social positions, etc. I haven’t read so much medieval history since my university days!
In case you’re wondering the name Dair is of Irish origin and means ‘oak’. I named him before the rest of the story started coming together and this proved to be quite a sticking point for a while – why would an English lad in Medieval times have an Irish name?
His mother is Irish and met his father and Randel when they accompanied Prince John as infantrymen to Ireland in 1185. This was nearly thirty years prior to the story.
Randel is a forester, and leads a group of under-foresters in enforcing Forest Law.
Dair is suffering from hypothermia. At this point he is at a moderate stage – his shivering has stopped and his metal faculties are slowing down.