Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Stories: Stepan and Rowena

This is a story of two peasants in Christenlande that never went anywhere else. It was posted on Ghostletters on 2/28/06.

Stepan and Rowena

Stepan leaned over and dunked his whole head into the brimming well,
soaking pale locks that tightly curled and dripped as he stood again and
shook his head to shake out the water.

"Now, don't you go ruining the laundry. I just took it down from the line."
The voice came from beside him, was light and feminine and had a lilting
cadence to it. He turned and looked down at a small dark woman with full
red lips. She carried a wicker basket on her hip full of the bedclothes
from the castle's bedchambers. He grinned.

"Now, dark one, why have I not seen ye here ere this? Are you just come to
Lawrencium?" He inclined his head and looked at her simple clothes.

"Nay, fellow. I was born in the town, ere it was named for the King, and
just have started to work here in the laundry. My name is Rowena." She
smiled without airs of any kind.

"I'm Stepan. I am an apprentice to the sword maker and the smithy. I have
been here in service to the crown for a few years." He was feeling
self-conscious about the leather apron he had on over his torn and stained
clothing. "You are a Celt. I can tell from your accent. Where is your
family from, then?"

She started to move away, and he followed her, casting a look back to see if
the smith was looking for he would earn an ear boxing if he was seen not

Rowena's voice was less friendly. "My family is from right here in
Christenlande. We Celts were here long before you Saxons."

Stepan felt like a fool but he had his own reason to be annoyed. "Well, and
I'm no Saxon."

She looked doubtfully at his pale hair, blue eyes and tall frame. "Aye,
ye're not," she said sarcastically.

He pulled himself up to his full height and announced with pride, "Nay, I am
not. I am Anglian. My family came up from the south, from East Anglia."

She laughed,
Well e all look alike to me." She skipped forward playfully.


"Aye, Angle?"

He asked shyly, "May I carry your basket for ye?" He reached for it.

She danced away. "I can handle it nicely, sirrah. Besides, ye better go.
The smith is coming towards us." She gave him a bright smile.

Stepan whirled and headed back to the forge. He turned briefly to look at
her. "See you?"

Rowena laughed and nodded. "Ye know where to find me."

The smith slapped the young man with his cap and ushered him back to his
hammer and tongs.

Next: who knows?

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .