A Lost Bird Must Roost
It seemed he was getting more annoying. She had hoped she really found it here, better than a big city. Alex's tenacity had proven her wrong. Maria was exhausted and filthy from the moor as she trudged along. She was certain there was a road or a rail line that passed through, she couldn't remember why maybe it was a map. 

The cold bit at her skin and whipped relentlessly at her hair. She was sure she looked a mess as she gripped the suitcase though her hands were so cold they wanted to give in and drop it. Her breath was shaky and light as she didn't want to bring the icy air into her lungs. It was up ahead she noticed something, a person. It was far too soon for a search party to be looking out here. No smart person would have wandered this way, it was an act of desperation. 

Still, she hugged herself andstopped walking, letting the air kick up her dress. "Please.." she called out. "Help me.. I need it.."
She had seen the girl, walking along, walking alone, and she had made no attempt to either veer off to avoid her, or to come closer to her. Marinette walked in a somewhat straight line, only sidestepping around spots she felt were more boggy, though the sharp cold of the past week held much of the water hard in its icy grip. She heard the cry for help, and she paused, and then she finally changed course, to make her way to the young woman. Marinette did not recognize her, but then again, she knew few of the locals. The sisters kept to themselves for the most part. Her staring, flat eyes took in the sight of the suitcase, the mud, the pale skin.

"You will freeze to death out here," she said in her expressionless monotone. And that was all she said, as she waited to see what it was the girl wanted.
Maria nodded quickly. "You are right. I will. Please help me. It was foolish of me to try to escape in this way, but it was my best chance. I will do anything. If you would grant me a place to hide for a few days. I... I can cook.. clean.. anything you need. I even have some money. I swear I do not want to cause you any trouble."

This was dangerous territory. A strange woman out here and she was ready to go where ever she led. She mentioned she had money to make her situation worse. Maria had come across dangerous types before, she had escaped and hoped she could again, it was still better than remaining where her cousin could find her and probably kill her on the way home.

"I am Maria.. "
Marinette listened and considered, although from her steady expression the young woman might have been telling her the time of day. She was impassive in demeanor and tone, but that didn't mean her mental functioning was slow in any way, as most assumed. She did consider the request, in light of her own sisters' needs for solitude, or isolation, in order to keep safe. But in this, she did feel this young woman posed no threat. Indeed, she was clearly in need of refuge herself. Being a younger sister, it was not up to Marinette to grant her safe harbor or not. But for the moment, clearly, she needed at least temporary sanctuary from the bitter cold of the open moor.

"Follow me then," she said, and turned and began to retrace her steps, back to their camp in the bog. Her errand could wait. She would lead the girl to the camp and let her sisters sort out what was to be done with her.
Maria almost fell into the mud but managed to stay up as she followed her. She thanked her softly but very sincerely. After one misstep that sent thick grabbing mud up to her calf she paid more attention the way she went. Her leg started to sting from the cold and she worked harder to keep it warm with movement.

She had no way of knowing the girl couldn't give her sanctuary but she would beg no matter who had to. This was her only chance.
They walked, and walked, and walked still - the castle was not close to the poor haven the sisters had made for themselves in the bog. Marinette did not look back, to see if the other young woman followed. She had no need - the heavy breathing and sounds of tromping and struggling behind her were more than enough. She did not offer to carry the sole bag. It did not occur to her to do so. She just kept walking steadily, until they reached a place where it was necessary to cross large patches of water - now with some hoary rime of ice clouding their surface. Here she did pause and turned to say, "Be careful of your step on these boards. They are quite slick." She pointed to the erratic trail of planks which her brother had thrown down in strategic places. Nimbly, she moved to cross the first one, with the ease and grace of a cat. Practice over the year had schooled her step.

At the far end she waited, turning to watch to see if the stranger could navigate the slippery wood, or would totter to at least splash a foot or an entire leg down into the icy water.
It was so difficult. Maria had gone through a lot, but walking through the wilderness towards where this woman was living. She had started to wonder if she were taking her out to the bog to murder her and take her stuff. If this lady tried, Maria would prove to her she wasn't so foolish as to go unarmed and follow a stranger blindly. Still, so far there was no sign she would do such a thing other than her lack of empathy in helping her keep up. Not that Maria would ask, if she were truly helping her, she was grateful.

Seeing the woman move with ease over the boards had her stop and look. She knew she shouldn't hesitate. Standing still on the wood would probably cause it to shift and send her falling. The runaway gripped her case and took a scared, nervous breath. It was so cold, she saw the chilled air escape her lips before she moved. She tried to be quick and confident, and it worked for half the length. Whether she stepped wrong, or her luck finally gave out,s he wasn't sure. Just that she slipped and her entire left leg took a plunge into the icy water. She gave a loud gasp and gritted her teeth, shutting her eyes as she tried to ignore the painfully chilled sensation that raced up her leg. She climbed up and put her now wet luggage on the board as she breathed hard for a moment, trying her damnedest to avoid giving up.

Though her entire body now trembled, and her teeth chattered. She ran the best she could to get out, slipping once more, this time causing her to scream in frustration and agony of the cold water. When she finally got to the other side, she had to struggle to get her legs to move as she hugged the wet case to her chest, trying to keep herself together. "I..I.. I hope i-i-i-it isn't... f-f-f-far.."

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