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Marshland Home

Marshland Home

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Published by Victoria Chen
Sharlayna plays a double life - the one of a girl running with her friends, and the one of a talented warrior who bears the legendary White Bow. Whenever the village is attacked, she fought with the men, disguised. One day, however, she is captured for reasons unknown to her. And there begins her first adventure outside of her home, where she had been forbidden to wander since she was little.
Sharlayna plays a double life - the one of a girl running with her friends, and the one of a talented warrior who bears the legendary White Bow. Whenever the village is attacked, she fought with the men, disguised. One day, however, she is captured for reasons unknown to her. And there begins her first adventure outside of her home, where she had been forbidden to wander since she was little.

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Published by: Victoria Chen on Aug 09, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/08/2010

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Character List
Sharlayna – Main characterJeff and James – twin brothers, Sharlayna’s best friendsSam – Jeff and James’ younger brotherPuton – village smithLaurence – village guard
 
Sharlayna
Laughing and calling, we chased each other through the marshes that wereour home, winding in and out between the various structures locatedwherever land was stable. We slid in the mud, dirtying our ragged playclothes but we didn’t mind and pushed on.I felt someone shove me from behind and I crashed headlong intosomeone’s sack of carefully picked marsh fruit, sending the whole sacktumbling into the muddy water. “Jeff!” I screamed, knowing that it was him.The two twins grinned at each other and ran as I chased after them.Jeff and James were twins and they were my best friends in the world,though they sometimes drove me crazy. They were identical down to the lastbrown hair on their heads and so everyone got them mixed up all the time –even me, who have known the twins for my whole life – because they were soperfectly alike that it was hard to tell who was who.But before I could reach either of the twins, a rough hand grabbed theback of my shirt, hauling me into the air. “
Sharlayna 
!” Puton, a bear of a man,roared in my face. “
You will go get me back my fruits and you will scrub every single one of them until they were as clean as they were before 
!”He dropped me on my rump in the mud and pointed a large finger at thedirection of his house, which I realized, was the one with the sack of fruit infront of it. Meekly, I obeyed. I lowered myself into the muddy water,shuddering as the water filled my boots up, soaking into my socks and mypants.
Mother’s going to have a fit when she sees me 
, I thought with a sighas I reached down into the water and grabbed the first fruit and dumped itinto the sack on the shore that Puton was holding up.Eventually, when the sack could sit on the bank by itself without tippingover, he left me to my work and disappeared back into his hut. I could hearmetal banging against metal inside and knew that Puton, our village smith,had returned to work.“Layna?” a voice called curiously. I looked up to see Laurence, one of the young men trained to defend our village against any attacks, looking down atme curiously, leaning against the railing. “What are you doing?”I flushed a deep red. Of all the other young men, Laurence was the mosthandsome one. It made me embarrassed to have him see me like I was –soaked in mud and in ragged clothes. “I accidentally knocked Puton’s marshfruit into the water and he made me pick them up,” I replied, leaning down tograb another fruit. He sat down on the path next to the sack, his booted
 
feet dangling over the water and took the fruit from me as it came up. Heexamined it as I went to grab another one.“You mean, someone accidentally shoved you
into 
the sack, causing it totumble down into the water so
you 
have to pick them up,” he commentedcalmly.I had to smile at that. Laurence knew me way too well. “Yes.”He smiled back and set the fruit back into the sack. “Why do you spend your time with the village brats? You’re almost a woman now, and you shouldbe preparing for it, instead of running around in dirty clothes, picking upafter your friends,” he asked me. Then he pushed himself off the edge andsplashed next to me in the mucky water.My throat tightened as I saw the mud splash up his clean boots, dirtyinghis neat and spotless clothes. He removed his gloves and tucked them intohis belt and reached down into the mud. His fingers held up another fruitand he tossed it into the sack. “No, let me do this,” I protested, trying topush him away and back up to the shore again. “It’s my job.”He smiled at me and held me at bay with a gentle hand, another fruit inhis other one. “Answer me first,” he told me.I sighed. “They’re my friends,” I said simply.“Hmm,” he said, letting me go. “I see.”“Now, will you get out of the mud now?”“Afraid to see me dirty, Layna?” he teased me.I knew that he knew how much I liked him, but he never really brought itup much. After all, almost all of the village girls liked him – leaving no doubtthat when it was time for him to marry, there would be no shortage of girlsfor him to choose as his wife from. But strangely, he spent the most timewith me – the most ragged one of the girls and probably the dirtiest. I spentmy days with the village “brats”, as Laurence put it, running across thevillage, slipping around in the mud.I also spent some time with an old retired knight named Sir Darius whohad once been in service to the king before he retired here. The old man wasas close to a father as I could get, seeing as my own father drowned in themarsh bog when I was really little. He trained me in swordplay, only becausehe wanted me to be able to fight back if I was ever attacked. But he neverreally saw me as one of his own warriors – the same warriors that he trainedto defend the village, like Laurence. Maybe it was because he only saw me asa project and a test – an amusement to spend the rest of his life working onand perfecting.

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