They followed a game trail through a mixed forest of beech, elm, oak, maple and pine; each with a different shade of green forming a canopy above the forest floor. They climbed to the heights northwest of the fort and the village just beyond. ‘Well I’ll be,’ remarked Oliver, ‘the Shawnee have flown the coop. Their camp was just down in that meadow yonder. You know what that means don’t you? The French are all alone.’ Daniel looked at Liam and thought he saw a sigh of relief in Liam’s eyes, but it was fleeting and soon the hatred had returned. ‘General Amherst was due to start his way here first part of May and now it’s June and he still hasn’t gotten on the road, ‘said Daniel. ‘Let’s head down to the village and talk to Angus; see what he knows about the doings with the French; maybe learn something that’ll speed old Amherst up a mite, ‘replied Oliver, ‘though I think my savage friend here should stay behind. Mohawk warriors built like the maple tree he’s named for would be a bit noticeable and, oh, Liam, leave your bow as well, not too many white men toting Mohawk weaponry.’
Angus McGee was a slightly built man but with a muscled frame from years of forging metal into instruments of farming and of war. He was seated on a bench outside his workshop mopping his brow of the sweat of the day and the furnace when he saw Mary and Oliver with two strangers heading his way. When they arrived he stood up and gave Mary a big bear hug, ‘when you gonna leave that vagabond hunter husband of yours? ‘He said with a mischievous grin, ‘Oliver, always good to see you. Who are the serious looking young’uns?’ As Oliver took Angus’ arms off of Mary and shook his hand, Mary said, ‘Husband, another man lifting me like a sack of flour. You know a woman could get used to this. I rather like it myself.’ ‘To answer your question you would be a stealer of other men’s wives,’ replied Oliver, ‘these are the Mallory brothers, Daniel and Liam. Working for General Amherst, come to have a look around. One thing we noticed was the number of bateaux crowding the harbor. Another was the lack of a guard on the village gate.’ ‘The Mallory brothers; well, now is that a fact? You boys have picked up quite a reputation. The French are most eager to meet you,’ he said with a menacing look but then burst out laughing, ‘come into the cabin. We’ll quench our thirsts and plan a siege.’
The fourth and final beta reader has come through big time, and I quote, ‘I’ve finished my feedback for you. Hopefully you’ll find it constructive and useful. I’ve given you my personal thoughts from a reader-perspective as well as some formatting advice. I loved the story and it was a delight to read such a fast-paced tale set in a location I’ve never read in before. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this, I’m very grateful and can’t wait to see it progress.’
That’s pretty much what all four had to say and that makes me happy. Interesting to note that they all had slightly different comments or suggestions which would imply I have lots of work to do. Now I’m not denying that I do have lots of work to do, but could some of those comments/suggestions be looked at as just personal preferences rather than something I need to change? Would like to hear from some of my author peeps about that. 🙂
So now I begin the second draft edit while trying to hold at bay the new character I introduced in Sundering of Empire, Marguerite…she has garnered my attention lately and could play an important role.
Marguerite was startled into wakefulness by a sudden and very loud snore from the British colonel lying next to her in his bedroom. She wondered what had happened to the family who used to live in this rather affluent house. ‘Probably a prominent merchant linked to the rebels and had thus fled for his life along with his wife and family,’ she thought, ’but now it houses four British officers.’ Being set adrift with little or no prospects for the future was something she understood all too well. She was born in 1756 to Geoffrey Walker, a sergeant in the British army who was killed in the battle on the Plains of Abraham in 1759, and Claudia Marceau, a French-Canadian woman he met in Quebec. After her father’s death, her mother, left with an infant and no income other than Geoffrey’s meager savings, gradually made her way to the city of Boston. Finding employment as a laundress and seamstress for the officer corps stationed in Boston helped feed and house her and Marguerite, but just barely. She tiptoed out of the room to go to the lavatory down the hall. Pausing by the colonel’s coat, she reached inside and pulled out a packet of official papers. Marguerite smiled at how easy it was for her to get information. Most of the officers who chose to keep her company fell prey to her charming smile and her witty intellect. This colonel mentioned he had gotten new orders simply because Marguerite said how much she had missed him the last two weeks while he was on patrol and now she had those orders in her hands. Marguerite quietly opened up the paper and read its contents putting to memory, the details. She slid the packet, now put back together, into the pocket and proceeded to get dressed. The colonel woke slightly and noticing that Marguerite was dressing mumbled, ‘don’t forget your money, love.’