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Juliet Marillier

Heart's Blood

Juliet Marillier Heart's Blood
$1.62 Pre-owned
 
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Product Condition
All used items are in good or better condition. May have minor damage to jewel case including scuffs or cracks, or to the item cover including scuffs. The cover art and liner notes are included for a CD. VHS or DVD box is included. The majority of our disc games come in their case. The majority of our cartridge games do not include instructions or a case. No fuzzy/snowy frames on VHS tapes.
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  • $1.00 for each additional item
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Biographical note:

Juliet Marillier was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, a town with strong Scottish roots. She graduated from the University of Otago with degrees in languages and music, and has had a varied career that includes teaching and performing music as well as working in government agencies. Juliet now lives in a hundred-year-old cottage near the river in Perth, Western Australia, where she writes full-time. She is a member of the druid order OBOD. Juliet shares her home with two dogs and a cat. Juliet's historical fantasy novels are published internationally and have won a number of awards.

Excerpt from book:

At a place where two tracks met, the carter brought his horse to a sudden halt.

"This is where you get down," he said.

Dusk was falling, and mist was closing in over a landscape curiously devoid of features. Apart from low clumps of grass, all I could see nearby was an ancient marker stone whose inscription was obscured by a coat of creeping mosses. Every part of me ached with weariness. "This is not even a settlement!" I protested. "It's—it's nowhere!"

"This is as far west as your money takes you," the man said flatly. "Wasn't that the agreement? It's late. I won't linger in these parts after nightfall."

I sat frozen. He couldn't really be going to leave me in this godforsaken spot, could he?

"You could come on with me." The man's tone had changed. "I've got a roof, supper, a comfortable bed. For a pretty little thing like you, there's other ways of paying." He set a heavy hand on my shoulder, making me shrink away, my heart hammering. I scrambled down from the cart and seized my bag and writing box from the back before the fellow could drive off and leave me with nothing.

"Sure you won't change your mind?" he asked, eyeing me up and down as if I were a prime cut of beef.

"Quite sure," I said shakily, shocked that I had been too full of my woes to notice that look in his eye earlier, when there were other passengers on the cart. "What is this place? Is there a settlement close by?"

"If you can call it that." He jerked his head in the general direction of the marker. "Don't know if you'll find shelter. They've a habit of huddling behind locked doors at night around here, and with good reason. I'm not talking about troops of armed Normans on the road, you understand, but . . . something else. You'd far better come home with me. I'd look after you."

I slung my bundle over my shoulder. On the tip of my tongue was the retort he deserved: I'm not so desperate, but I was not quite brave enough to say it. Besides, with only four coppers left and the very real possibility that pursuit was close behind me, I might soon be reduced to accepting offers of this kind or starving.

I stooped to examine the weathered stone, keeping a wary eye on the carter. He wouldn't attack me, would he? Out here, I would scream unheard. The stone's inscription read Whistling Tor. An odd name. As I traced the moss-crusted letters, the man drove away without another word. The drum of hoof beats and the creak of wheels diminished to nothing. I took a deep breath and ordered myself to be strong. If there was a sign, there must be a settlement and shelter.

I headed off along the misty track to Whistling Tor. I had hoped to reach the settlement quite quickly, but the path went on and on, and after a while it began to climb. As I made my way up, I could see through the mist that I was walking into ever denser woodland, the dark trunks of oak and beech looming here and there above a smothering blanket of bushes and briars. My shawl kept catching on things. I wrenched it away with my free hand, the other holding tight to my writing box. I stumbled. There were odd stones on the path, pale, sharp-edged things that seemed set down deliberately to trip the unwary traveller.

The last light was fading. Here under the trees, the shadows and the mist combined to make the only safe speed a cautious creep. If only I were not so tired. I'd been up at first light after an uncomfortable night spent in the rough shelter of a dry-stone wall. I'd walked all morning. At the time, the carter had seemed a godsend.

Footsteps behind me. What now? Hide in the cover of the trees until the person had passed? No. I had made a promise to myself when I fled Market Cross, and I must keep it. I will be brave. I halted and turned.

A tall man emerged from the mist, shoulders square, walking steadily. I had just time to take in his impressive garb—a cloak dyed brilliant crimson, a chain around his neck that appeared to be of real gold—when a second man came up behind him. Relief washed through me. This one, shorter and slighter than the other, was clad in the brown habit and sandals of a monastic brother. They halted four paces away from me, looking mildly surprised. The deepening dusk and the rising mist rendered both their faces ghostly pale, and the monk was so thin his features seemed almost skeletal, but his smile was warm.

"Well, well," he observed. "The mist has conjured a lovely lady from an ancient tale, my friend. We must be on our best manners or she'll set a nasty spell on us, I fear."

The red-cloaked man made an elegant bow. "My friend has a penchant for weak jests," he said. He did not smile—his face was a sombre one, thin-lipped, sunken-eyed—but his manner was courteous. "We see few travellers on this path. Are you headed for the settlement?"

"Whistling Tor? Yes. I was hoping to find shelter for the night."

They exchanged a glance.

"Easy to lose yourself when the mist comes down," the monk said. "The settlement's on our way, more or less. If you permit, we'll walk with you and make sure you get there safely."

"Thank you. My name is Caitrin, daughter of Berach."

"Rioghan," said the tall man in the crimson cloak. "My companion is Eichri. Let me carry that box for you."

"No!" Nobody was getting his hands on my writing materials. "No, thank you," I added, realising how sharp I had sounded. "I can manage."

We walked on. "Do you live somewhere locally?" I asked the two men.

"Close at hand," Rioghan said. "But not in the settlement. When you get there, ask for Tomas. He's the innkeeper."

I nodded, wondering if four coppers would be enough to buy me a bed for the night. I waited for them to ask me why a young woman was out wandering alone so late in the day, but neither of them said a thing more, though each glanced at me from time to time as we walked on. I sensed my arrival was a curiosity to them, something that went beyond the obvious puzzle of my appearance. When I'd fled from Market Cross I'd looked like what I was, the daughter of a skilled craftsman, a girl of good family, neat and respectable. Now I was exhausted and dishevelled, my clothing creased and muddy. My boots had not handled the long walk well. The manner of my departure had left me ill equipped for travel. Of my small store of coins, all but those four coppers had been spent on getting me to this point. A new idea came to me.

"Brother Eichri?"

"Yes, Caitrin, daughter of Berach?"

"I imagine you are attached to a monastery or similar, somewhere near here. Is there also a Christian place of scholarship and retreat for women?"

The monk smiled. He had teeth like miniature tombstones; they made his features look even more gaunt. "Not within several days' ride, Caitrin. You seek to enter a life of prayer?"

I blushed. "I would hardly be qualified for that. What faith I once had, I have no longer. I thought it possible such a place might offer refuge . . . Never mind." It had been a mistake to ask such a question. The less people knew about my woeful position the better. I'd been stupid to give these two my real name, friendly as they were.

"Are yo

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