Blue Mara of the Hills

Blue Mara of the Hills

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Summary

Mara Cenva is a girl growing up in the mountain town of Jabal Maraj. She is kept in isolation by her family because they fear she will be persecuted for her blue skin (a rare genetic condition). I am having trouble with this story as it was mostly written in fragments, but eventually this will be Mara's life:
She begins to lead a life outside the house with the other children of the village. After a rough start she lives in peace for a few years. Unfortunately, she looks like Goddess Sia (Goddess of prosperity), and there is someone who would gain from having visits from a "goddess". Mara's struggle is to live on her own terms as herself again. Feedback please! This has been floating around in my notebooks and computer drive unfinished for about a year.
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Summary

Mara Cenva is a girl growing up in the mountain town of Jabal Maraj. She is kept in isolation by her family because they fear she will be persecuted for her blue skin (a rare genetic condition). I am having trouble with this story as it was mostly written in fragments, but eventually this will be Mara's life:
She begins to lead a life outside the house with the other children of the village. After a rough start she lives in peace for a few years. Unfortunately, she looks like Goddess Sia (Goddess of prosperity), and there is someone who would gain from having visits from a "goddess". Mara's struggle is to live on her own terms as herself again. Feedback please! This has been floating around in my notebooks and computer drive unfinished for about a year.

Chapter1 (v.1) - A cold Autumn

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 14, 2017

Reads: 33

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 14, 2017

A A A

A A A

September in Jabal Maraj brings cold, curious winds that  enter the houses through the keyholes. One such gust coming over the Uttarit Peak of the Mussinan mountains stuck its icy tendrils under Mara’s veil as she walked down the track from the house. Another lifted her skirts and wound its way through her dress, brushing her stomach with cruel fingers of air. All the while, the wind whistled off the stones and blew the trees, making a sound like the hiss of escaping laughter around a polite giant’s fist. If Mara listened closely, she imagined she heard words in the noise: Ha, ha, little girl! Whiiiiistle, Huuff! We know your secret. You can hide it from them in the street, but you can’t hide it from us. You try to make yourself unseen and untouchable, but we can see you and we can touch you.

She ran from the predatory winds, sprinting till she was down from the hills and sheltered in the valley. After peering from behind a hedge to make sure no one was about, Mara flitted down the twisting  roads and into town  as the birds ended their songs and children went in for dinner.The basket in her gloved hand was for eggs, soap, or whatever she found lacking in the kitchen. The grown-ups all knew who she belonged to, though they didn’t know who she was. Or what she was. She always arrived and left at twilight when the shops were closing up for the day, and instead of telling the shopkeepers what she needed she gave them a list, in careful, childish handwriting. When anyone said something like :“Nice weather we’ve been having”, she would simply nod. A thick black veil covered her face, the gloves were black, and the long dress of the same color mostly hid her shoes. The general effect was that of a personless shadow or a very young and gloomy widow.

The children waited eagerly for her (mostly in vain) to appear and vanish. They sat together intently just an hour or so before Mara went on her errands that day in the prickly yellow grass at the edge of the town square. The popular theory was that bandits had come through the Mussinans and attacked when she was a baby.

“They cut off her nose and her ears when they found her in the cradle.One bandit with a gold ring in his nose held her while one with an eye patch cut her. They did something dreadful to her father and mother when they tried to stop them, and the one with the ring stole her mother’s wedding ring to put in his nose. If you go up to the Cenva house and look under the rug in the parlor, you can see the bloodstains on the floor,” the little storyteller and gossip Bijan declared three years ago after finding and reading a book of original fairy-tales, with the bits that were Unsuitable for Children left in. The autumn sun felt much colder and they shivered. If the bandits could get all the way to the Cenva farm, they could surely make it a couple of miles to the town.

“How come you know so much?” countered his sister Joemma, who was partially disgusted at Bijan’s treatment of another person as a frightening story and also jealous that she could not tell such a tale herself. “Were you there?¨The children suddenly laughed as Bijan was at a loss for words at finding himself caught in a ¨Uttarit Peak -High Tale¨ as they called such stories there. The more inquisitive ones wondered why she should hide her hands if only her face was disfigured. A  much better explanation was that she had horns on her head,claws, and was covered in boils. That would necessitate the veil and gloves.

Whatever the grown-ups suspected they kept to themselves. Their children were disappointed and they were shocked when the Cenva family’s daughter and only child took off her veil and spoke. It was like a tree or a statue in a shrine had developed a personality overnight. The girl laughed at their astonishment and told them they had looked again at the milestone, which further perplexed them.

The true beginning of this story is back in the buried, knotted roots of History. It came from men and women loving each other in little towns in the opposite ends of the world. From marriages contrived with old women’s memories and pieces of paper to minimize inbreeding. From the unusual but mostly harmless mistakes of Genetics.

As far as Ethel Cenva was concerned, the story began with a carefully careless night in March, with the rain drumming on the oilcloth stretched over a piece of rope between two trees to keep the blankets dry. With a copper-colored woman and a copperpatina-colored man combining their love into a child and vowing to discreetly visit a church together. The next one we see, they said, building a glorious castle of the future on the shifting sands of fate. With the meeting of Earth and Sky. With a kind, pious blue man called Tarek who may or may not have come out of Akjir seeking a better climate for his sickly wife, disappointed with the winds and the rain. Little things from people’s lives build History, and nobody knows which ones.

History, as the Cenva child knew well from her secret wanderings, was a winding series of roads stretching all over the world, marked with milestones so the traveller would know where they were and how far they had gone.  Anyone could leave home and return by the same roads that had carried them away, and look at the milestones once more. The miles were marked by a Stone; the years were marked by a new King.

The traveler was in the same place he had started, but in the fullness of time the roadside had changed. Perhaps the milestone was barely recognisable as brambles and moss had overtaken it; maybe the milestone was now a sign on the wall of a city that did not have walls when he was a boy. Or maybe the chief’s house in the village no longer looked grand, but positively shabby in comparison to all the palaces he had seen in faraway kingdoms. The old Fief Maraj Castle was a milestone; first it was threateningly looming, a stone shell protecting the spiky, carnivorous organism that dwelt inside. A Lord with armed men of his own to order about once kept it that way; now it was a pile of mossy blocks and a maze of green corridors that mostly led nowhere. They told the miles of a vanished highway.

The child took a quiet pride in her ability to go in any direction on any village road  in close to no time at all. Nobody could catch her or guess where she would appear next.  While the rest of the comatose village lagged behind the little girl, she could dance League-Years ahead of them and skip back, tomorrow’s flowers and shiny pebbles hidden in her pocket and mind.Even with her capricious demeanour, she was a specter bound with the Rules. No talking to people. Keep the veil on. Be seen as little as possible. Your health is Delicate because you have a Skin Complaint. She is meandering  in an unknown time and place inside herself most days, a place where she can look at the milestones as much as she likes and where the Rules don’t apply, until someone calls her back into the stalling world, which was a rare occurrence for a while.Or if she calls herself with a charm to break the spell:

Eggs, half-dozen

Sausages, one string

One spool of Black Thread

Ten Apples, Green

Salt.  

The magic charm to bring her to earth written in blue ink and the copper Pieces brought to produce the things on the list clinked against each other in her pocket. She was no ghost or spirit, despite her secret wanderings through the towns of Jabal Maraj and  Time. Spirits don’t do the shopping. They have food brought to them.

 


© Copyright 2017 Alard Ermentrud. All rights reserved.

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