Disclaimers: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K Rowling and Bloomsbury Publishing also Warner Brothers and Morgan Creek International, along with James Fenimore Cooper and Michael Mann and Christopher Crowe (screenplay). No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Pairing: Cora/Nathaniel(Hawkeye) and Uncas/Alice
Notes: This story is primarily based on the film version of Last of the Mohicans, along with a few borrowed elements from the book (which I read many moons ago and can't remember much of). Although it is classed as a crossover – it is more a case of borrowing the ideas from Harry Potter, rather than introducing any characters whatsoever from it, except at the very beginning and end. Also, some may consider Alice to be o.o.c. I do have my reasoning behind this – but if I wrote it out in the A/N it would be a story on its own!
Why am I writing this now? Because, dammit, I watched LOTM on the weekend and I remembered how much I wanted Alice to live along with Uncas. And I like crossovers. *shrugs* Whatever. It appealed to me… Apologies to those who expected AGIG as the next fic – this insisted on being done first.
Introducing Miss Alice.
'I want a story!' The little blonde girl demanded of her mother. Mrs Eleanor Lovegood smiled tightly down at her very fractious and ill little girl and wondered what on earth she could come up with.
'Well, alright then, how about…'
'Once upon a time…' Luna interrupted. 'All good stories start like that!'
'Yes, that's very true.' Said her mother, tucking some of Luna's hair behind her ears. 'Once upon a time there was a girl called Alice…'
'Who fell down a rabbit hole.' Luna interjected glumly.
'Well, yes…' He mother trailed off, seeing her daughter's disappointment, 'There was a girl called Alice who did just that…' Which today, apparently just won't do. She realised with an inward sigh. Then she remembered another story that her mother had told her when she was little. 'But this story is about another Alice – who never went near rabbit holes if she could help it!' Her daughter brightened up. 'In fact this Alice is actually related to you!'
Luna's face fell again. 'Like the other Alice.' She mumbled.
'Well no dear, not quite like the other Alice – that one is one of your father's great aunts…' Mrs Lovegood smiled suddenly. 'This one is one of your great great grandmothers!'
Luna's eyes widened. 'Really? Daddy never said about…'
'Well, Daddy never heard about this one – because she was one of my great grandmothers. I don't think has Daddy even heard of her.' She whispered conspiratorially to her daughter. 'It will be our secret!'
Luna giggled. 'Tell me! Tell me!'
'Well, alright then – but you have to be quiet so I can do it properly…' Mrs Lovegood took a deep breath before beginning again. 'Once upon a time there was a girl called Alice – but this Alice was not one who went near rabbit holes. In fact this Miss Alice – was actually a lot like you Luna – she liked stories very much when she was a little girl. But I'm getting ahead of myself; I haven't even told you her name! Let me introduce you to Miss Alice Munro. When Miss Alice…'
When Miss Alice Munro was very, very small, her mother told her many stories. Stories of princes who rescued princesses, stories of dragons and daring adventurers, stories of magic with evil wizards and stories of wild lands across the seas. But Miss Alice Munro, aged nearly six's favourite stories were those her mother told her of an eccentric great aunt – Great Aunt Nadia.
'Hello my darling.' Mrs Elizabeth Munro, wife to the decorated Colonel Edmund Munro, slipped soundlessly into her youngest daughter's bedroom. 'Nurse tells me you aren't asleep.' Her candle cast light into the darkened room.
A small figure sat up in bed. 'No Mamma.' She sounded apologetic, 'I couldn't sleep.'
Mrs Munro soundlessly sighed, thinking of the guests due to arrive any minute, before dismissing the thought and focussing on her daughter, who was now settling back down on the bed.
She made her way to her daughter's bed and sat down, placing the candle onto the side as did so, illuminating her daughter's face. 'And what,' she asked with a smile, 'do you think will help you get to sleep tonight?'
'A story?' A quiet voice asked.
'A story? Really?' She sounded sceptical. 'Not prayers or anything else?'
Alice shook her head.
'And this will get you to sleep?'
Alice nodded firmly.
'Well, it will have to be a short one… What one can I tell you…'
'Great Aunt Nadia.'
'A Great Aunt Nadia story?' She frowned. Most of those stories were far too long for tonight! She ruthlessly rifled through her memories for a short one. She frowned again. Nothing! Except… There was always the last one… She looked down at her daughter's expectant face. Well, I wasn't intending to tell that one – it always gave me a slightly eerie feeling. Not that there was any truth in it – of course not! But still… She looked down at her now wide awake daughter and ruefully gave up.
'Well, I do have a Great Aunt Nadia story as it happens…' She trailed off and then bent closer to her daughter. 'Do you promise to go to sleep afterwards?'
'Very well then.' She straightened up and pondered how to begin. 'I've told you many stories that Great Aunt Nadia told me…'
'Yes! Lots and lots!'
'…Yes, lots and lots – don't interrupt please dear…'
Alice ducked her head, but kept her eyes focussed on her face.
'…but this is a new one.' She inwardly threw caution to the wind. It is, after all, just a fairy story. 'So now you must be very quiet?' She waited for her daughter's nod of assent. 'Good. Now, Great Aunt Nadia was from my side of the family – that means she wasn't a Munro – and when I was very little – just like you she told me a story of where she was from. She wasn't originally from Great Britain, no. She told me that my family were originally from Russia, and we are descended from a grand wizard, whose wealth and power ruled most of Russia and beyond. But!' She paused, and watched as her daughter's eyes grew bigger as the story sunk in, 'they were overthrown by an evil curse that would bring misfortune on the women of the family until a prince, the last of a great line, could break the curse and free the family.'
Alice blinked. 'Descended from a wizard?' She whispered in awe.
Mrs Munro smiled a fond smile down at her daughter and tucked the sheets tightly around the girl. 'Yes – a wizard. In fact Great Aunt Nadia told me once that in this world there are many things that we don't see – things that are hidden from everyone. And only a special person can see them.'
Alice's face was alight with amazement, her eyes seeming almost magical in the candlelight. 'Can you see those things?'
Mrs Munro smiled. 'I can see the magic in many things – like my lovely family – which I am blessed with.' She paused. 'But not the things Great Aunt Nadia saw – she saw…' She lowered her voice and bent closer to her daughter, '…real magic.'
'With wizards and witches?' Alice whispered back.
'Oh yes – and spells and wands and all things like that.'
'And did she do any magic?'
Mrs Munro smiled, enjoying the awe on her young daughter's face. 'No she didn't. Not after the curse was laid down by the evil wizard. He was a member of Genghis Khan's court, and he knew,' her voice raised, 'that if he didn't put the curse upon our ancestor – then it would be our family who would rule the world. Forever!'
'Forever and ever?'
'Forever and ever.' Mrs Munro agreed, smoothing the wisps of blonde hair from her daughter's now tired face. 'When out ancestor heard about the curse, he decided to ignore Genghis Khan and his court until he knew what the curse would do and consulted the best seers that he could. When he told them – they reacted in horror saying he had cursed them by telling them of this! And they warned him – not to practice magic until the curse would be lifted by one of his children – a girl. As he was already married and had a daughter, he believed that the curse would soon be lifted. He even took his wife and child to visit other kings, so that it would soon be gone – but he didn't stop using magic!' She took a breath and smiled, as the memory of her great aunt telling her this story as a small child came to mind. It isn't half as frightening as I remember. She glanced down at her daughter, who was clearly sleepier than when she started and decided to finish it quickly.
'And so, because of the curse, the wizard lost his wife and his only child to an awful disease. Eventually he remarried and he had another daughter. But then – his second wife died in an awful accident and his child was barely alive, and the wizard, seeing his only daughter hovering on the brink of death – swore that no member of his family would ever, ever practice magic. And his daughter survived.'
She saw her daughter's eyelids droop and brought the story to a close.
He told his daughter when she was old enough, to tell her children, and her children's children to ensure that the real story survives, but we must be careful – we must wait until it is the right time to tell our descendants of the curse – otherwise it may visit us again! And until the curse is broken – we must not practice any magic – because if we do – the curse will come upon us! Great Aunt Nadia told me just before she died the real truth, and she made me promise to tell my daughters – so that they would know that someday, one day – the curse would be broken…' She saw her daughter's sleepy face and added, 'by love.' Well, why can't I make the odd amendment? I always thought it should be love!
'And then – we'll all live happily ever after.' She rose from the bed. 'Now it is time for you to go to sleep. Good night my dear.' She bent over and kissed Alice's forehead. 'Get some rest.'
'Good night Mamma.' Alice obediently closed her eyes and snuggled deeper into her blankets.
Mrs Munro turned and left the room quietly, closing the door after her. 'She should sleep now.' She said, turning to the maid who bobbed her head in acknowledgement. 'Is Cora already sleeping?'
'Yes Mum,' replied the maid, passing a pair of fine silk gloves to her. 'She nodded off earlier.'
'Good.' Mrs Munro took the gloves and pulled them carefully on. 'I do not wish to be disturbed for the rest of the evening. My husband's party is extremely important.'
'Yes Mum.' The maid bobbed her head again.
Mrs Munro descended the stairs, smiling and shaking her head as she did so. And to think I was so scared of that story after hearing Great Aunt Nadia died within days of telling me. How ridiculous!
One week later Miss Alice Munro, nearly six years old, was dressed all in black for the first time in her life after the death of her mother. It was her first encounter with death. It would not be her last.
When asked, Miss Alice Munro, aged fourteen, barely remembered much about her mother, other than her smile and her beauty. Occasionally, if she thought hard about it, she could remember a few moments and sometimes she could bring to mind one or two of the characters of the stories her mother told her when she was meant to be sleeping. She could just about remember her mother appearing, illuminated by the glow of a single candle, sitting down on her bed and telling her tales to help her go to sleep.
Right at this moment, she wished she could remember an entire story as she looked across in the dim light to the other schoolgirl who spent most of her time bullying Alice when Cora wasn't around. Rebecca, finally returned from her family's castle after the holidays, was demanding entertainment; and as it was far too dark to read her anything from one of the novels Rebecca had smuggled in and hidden in Alice's belongings (in case they were found it would be Alice in trouble, rather than Rebecca) she needed something to help her now!
'Come on! Don't you know anything?' Rebecca hissed from her bed. 'Tell me something now! Or else!'
'All right… Give me a moment.' She sighed, sat up, wrapped her blankets around her and rubbed her head, still wishing she knew what to say. Then she remembered something. 'It's too dark to read tonight…'
Rebecca groaned. 'Well – do something else then!'
'… But I do have a story… One my mother told me.'
'Your dead mother…' Rebecca sneered. 'You're going to tell me a fairy story.'
Alice could feel Rebecca rolling her eyes. 'Yes – but it is a good one – in fact!' She added, as the memory returned… 'It was the last one she ever told me… You see…' She paused for dramatic effect. 'My family are cursed.'
Rebecca scoffed. 'Cursed? You? The daughter of Colonel Edmund Munro, decorated officer of the British Army?'
Alice pulled a face, glad Rebecca couldn't see her in this light. This is not going well! I have to be entertaining or else tomorrow will be awful! 'Not from my father's side.' She added hurriedly, 'but from my mother's.'
'Go on then.' The voice she hated drawled scornfully. 'What curse is that?'
'Well… My family aren't originally from this country…'
'Always knew you were a filthy foreigner.' Rebecca put in with yet another sneer.
Alice bit her tongue, to stop her from saying something she would regret immediately. Then she took a deep breath and carried on. 'This is from a long time ago… Back to the Romans!' So I'm embellishing a bit. So what? She can't criticise a family line that goes back that far. 'And, all that time ago, a member of Caesar's court,' She blessed her history studies, 'was jealous of my family's status. So he cursed the members of my family.'
She heard Rebecca's sigh as she turned over in bed and smiled. The fairy story is working! Maybe I can just finish it – because I can't remember what happens with it! 'And the curse immediately affected everyone – but no one is allowed to talk about it, until it is lifted.' She finished.
There was a long pause.
Alice held her breath.
'And that's it?' Rebecca's voice broke the silence.
'Munro, you really are pathetic.'
Alice flinched and bit her lip, watching as the Right Honourable Lady Rebecca Moore turned her back on her. She heard her sigh, and sat stiffly waiting for her breath to even out, knowing that once it did she could then lay herself down to rest.
It seemed to take forever.
Finally, after what really was hours, Miss Alice Munro moved her blankets and laid down to sleep, closing her eyes and wishing that her mother had told her the truth about the curse and the magic. I wish it were true. If it were true I could do something to her. Or if it were true then the curse would do something to me after I'd told someone else. She exhaled slowly and tried to ignore the tears that slipped down her face as she thought of what tomorrow would bring.
The next evening, Alice bit her lip as she prepared for bed in a room with her elder sister Cora. No one else would share with her, after Lady Rebecca had taken suddenly ill. In the first class of the morning she had collapsed and become delirious, scaring everyone in the sewing room, including the sewing teacher; a woman who was usually unfazed by anything. It had almost been funny to the girls to see Miss White go as white as her name suggested; until they realised that Lady Rebecca was genuinely ill and not pulling one of her notoriously funny tricks.
Two days later Miss Alice Munro would be ensuring that at least part of her wardrobe was black.
The school was immediately quarantined after Lady Rebecca's untimely passing and all the girls were monitored for signs of the illness that had led to her death. They watched for anything that could be construed as a sign that the illness had passed on to anyone else – most especially the girls who were closely associated with Rebecca. As Alice had (unwillingly) shared a tiny bedroom in the attic with her, Alice was under close supervision.
Eventually the doctors decided that Lady Rebecca had caught an ailment that had been undiscovered during her time at home and had unfortunately brought the illness back with her. The school would need to be closed for at least a short period, and potentially would not be reopening. The girls were sent home to their families.
Alice sat in the carriage, along with her sister Cora and watched the world go by as they travelled to their father's sister's house.
There had been no other cases of the illness Rebecca had died from.
Alice shivered. I wonder if the curse… No. She shook her head. Cora looked at her with concern. 'I'm just tired.' She said. 'This journey always takes so long.'
Cora smiled and took Alice's hand. 'We'll be there soon.' She reached up and caressed Alice's hair. 'Why don't you try and sleep? It has been a long week.'
Alice managed to muster up a smile for her sister, before closing her eyes and leaning back into the seat. Cora adjusted the blanket around her and Alice smiled gratefully again.
The rhythm of the ride gradually lulled her to an uneasy doze. Her mind pondering how Lady Rebecca had died so suddenly after she had told the last story her mother had ever told her. It is strange it just happened to be that one… The doctors believed it was something she caught at home… I wonder if I can remember the rest of the story. Something about a Prince? Or am I getting it confused. I wish I could remember. She frowned in concentration. I know the curse is only meant to affect us when we do magic or when we tell our descendants… I'm sure that is what Mamma said… But maybe… the curse not only affects us, but maybe anyone else we tell… Her tired mind began drifting off into a deeper sleep. It is still only a fairy story… But I won't tell anyone else… Just in case.
Alice furiously stormed through the house. How dare he! She fumed. How dare he tell me I cannot ride my horse over those jumps! I've been riding since…
'Alice?' Cora's worried voice broke her train of thought. 'Are you all right?'
She came to a dead stop in front of the stairs, where Cora stood on the second step. 'Edward.' She hissed at her sister.
Cora discretely rolled her eyes. 'Might I enquire as to what he has done now?'
'He told me I wasn't allowed to ride, until I could be trusted on my own horse.' She bit out, visibly restraining herself.
'He seems to think that in spite of our father's and your decisions, he has the right to overrule both in regards…' She looked up at her sister who was regarding her with sympathy and finished, 'to me…' she trailed off and helplessly looked down. 'He has no right.' She whispered. 'None.'
Cora stepped down the last two steps and hugged her sister tightly. 'I'm sorry Alice.' She rubbed her back comfortingly. 'Let us go upstairs.' She gently led her sister back to the room they shared.
They held on to each other as they slowly made their way up the first flight of stairs, and then parted to make their way up the second, narrower staircase, before taking refuge in the small room.
'I do not know how much longer…' Alice started. 'He is becoming intolerable.'
Cora sat down on the bed and held her arms out to her sister, who stepped into them. 'It will be all right.' She said, gently rubbing Alice's back.
'Will it?' Alice asked, pulling back from her sister. 'When?' She demanded, almost petulantly, trying to stop herself from crying.
'Soon.' Cora answered, letting her go. 'You know our father wants us to return to school as soon as possible. Until then, we will simply have to wait and put up with Cousin Edward's silly demands.' She smiled at her sister. 'And then all this will simply be a memory…' She trailed off and rubbed her thumb across Alice's face to gently wipe the tear away. 'Although I admit, it will not be a fond memory!'
Alice giggled and hugged her sister. 'Thank you Cora!' She smiled at her, and then her face changed to a slyer look. 'And will the memory of meeting Duncan be a memory to forget?' She teased.
Cora laughed. 'I think - meeting Duncan here has been the only pleasurable part!'
Alice looked mischievous. 'If you don't marry him – I shall!'
'Alice!' She exclaimed. 'I barely know him!'
'Yet.' Alice taunted. 'He seemed very interested in you!'
'Well…' Cora trailed off and then smiled a mischievous smile of your own, 'Mrs Alice Heyward – perhaps it would behove us both to dress for dinner… In case your future husband is visiting?'
Alice laughed and stepped toward their shared wardrobe.
Miss Alice Munro called upon her tolerance, her good manners and her patience for dinner that night. Her Cousin Edward seated himself at the head of the table, as was his rightful place, and then proceeded to spend the entire dinner insulting both her and her sister. The food was cold, something he blamed on them, tasteless, something he failed to notice, and either undercooked or burnt. Alice steeled herself, silently wished for a miracle and on not getting that, began silently to count backwards in French from one hundred. Then she recited all the Latin verbs that she knew, along with all the tenses she could remember and wished she was anywhere but under her Cousin's roof.
Nor was there any Duncan Heyward to make things better.
In fact, Alice couldn't imagine anything worse.
Then Alice realised that Cousin Edward had turned on Cora in his diatribe.
…You ungrateful wench! Cousin you claim yourself!' He snarled at Cora who visibly flinched. 'Flinging and flaunting yourself at my good friend Duncan! I don't dare to invite him when you are here! Your shamelessness knows no bounds!' He declared.
Alice delicately dabbed the sides of her mouth with her napkin, placed it back on the table and then stood. 'Cousin Edward,' she turned to her silent Aunt, 'Aunt Margaret,' and then turned to her sister, 'Cora.' She paused. 'I am fatigued and wish to retire.'
Alice waited. Any gentleman would stand when she stood.
Cousin Edward did not.
He looked at her, and then turned back to Cora. 'I have sold the horse your sister claimed she owned…'
'What?' Alice cried, her patience finally at an end.
'… And will be selling the other things you claim as yours…'
'When our father…' Cora began.
'Your father! Hah! Your father! Off fighting for his majesty across the seas – he left me in charge of you!' He leant back in his chair. 'And you cost me money. Money…' His eyes narrowed on Cora, 'and friends.'
'You are despicable.' Alice declared from where she still stood. 'You hateful hateful man.'
He didn't even look at her.
'I wish… I wish…' Alice felt a rage rise up in her as she stared at the man who was meant to look after her in her father's absence.
Edward gestured to one of the servants to refill his glass, still ignoring Alice.
Alice glared at him, her rage near incandescent and her eyes flicked back and forth between the glass which he showed more concern over, than his own flesh and blood.
The glass and decanter shattered, showering him with glass. He screamed.
No one could explain how the glass had broken so catastrophically that night. It was believed that a there had been a fault in the manufacture of the decanter that had caused it to break so suddenly, covering both Cousin Edward and the servant with millions of shards.
The servant had only mild cuts.
Cousin Edward had not survived. A tiny shard had embedded itself into his eye. He died in agony two weeks later.
The estate would devolve on their younger cousin, Cousin William, who was currently attending Harrow.
And Miss Alice Munro donned her black dresses, and wondered if it really had been an accident when the man she despised most in the whole world had died. Or whether maybe she could do magic; and she had caused the decanter to break instead.
Watching as her sister spoke quietly to Duncan Heyward in the library Alice resolved to never get angry again, she would never be confrontational, never get angry. She would always be docile and calm. No matter what, she couldn't risk telling anyone her secret. That maybe, just maybe, there really was such a thing as magic, and she could do it Not only that, but there really was a curse, and it killed people.
She wondered if she would be next.
Crossing the oceans had been an adventure! She was sixteen now and considered herself almost all grown up! She knew her sister had been worried about her for some time after Cousin Edward's death, but she had managed to reassure her that it was simply now she was growing up and had put away her childish behaviour.
Not giving in to the temper she had always had was not easy, but she had gotten used to it over time. School had helped, and she felt more of a lady than she had ever felt before. Whilst she would admit that she envied Cora her temperament, and her outgoing charm - watching how besotted Duncan – now Major Duncan Heyward - was a perfect example of how captivating Cora could be. She wished she could be like Cora, but deep down she was determined to never let herself ever get too close to that, just in case.
Part of her still believed it was just a fairy story.
The other part, the more frightened part, believed it to be true.
She wouldn't take any risks. Not with her sister, her father or Duncan.
She wasn't sure if it would automatically affect her or not.
Sitting in the inn and looking out of the slightly dusty window at the people outside, Alice decided it was time she amended her list of what she remembered about the story her mother had told her so long ago.
She had taken to jotting down bits as she remembered them in her notebook. Gradually it was taking shape. Unfortunately, she would sometimes remember bits of other stories her mother had told her – leading to a very convoluted tale which had made no sense. Since then she had kept trying to remember bits and pieces and collecting them all in her notebook, so that hopefully, one day, she would know exactly what her mother had said.
Her sister had seen her writing it down one day. She had quickly explained that she was trying to remember all the stories their mother had told her.
Cora had frowned and looked puzzled. That was when Alice had discovered that she had been the only recipient of the stories. It had made her feel incredibly guilty when she realised that her mother had shared the stories with her, but not her step daughter Cora.
Alice had mostly forgotten that Cora was only her half sister – the daughter of her father's first marriage. Alice was the product of the second. She had never realised that Cora had been excluded from anything by her mother, and the knowledge that she had, had been a nasty shock. So Alice had promised to share the stories as soon as she could remember them all. Well, all bar one.
Cora had given her a small smile and headed out of their shared room.
Alice had felt ill. After that she had taken to hiding her writing, although Cora still knew that she did it. Eventually she would make another copy for Cora – she had promised it the next time Cora had seen what she was doing. Cora had nodded, but not said anything.
She hoped that giving her a copy of the stories would make Cora feel better.
She wasn't convinced that it would.
She shook her head and retrieved her notebook, taking a glance around the room – just in case any of the servants had come in. She did not want anyone to overhear any of it!
'I think the dragon part is not relevant.' She mused aloud. 'It doesn't fit in to anything else. Although that would mean the Prince part isn't… Well I'll leave it in for now.' She leant back against the cushions of the window-seat. 'The seers I'm sure were in the tale, as was the wizard – of course.' She made a note. 'Then there's the curse… I think it only affects the women of the family… Were they Roman?' She paused, and then her eyes widened. 'No.' She said decisively, restraining herself from shuddering. 'They were not Roman. They were…' She frowned. 'I told Rebecca they were Roman…' She hissed to herself, 'because of what she said…' She shivered at the memory of her former school. 'It was Russian.' She nodded to herself. 'Of course – Nadia. That sounds Russian.'
She heard footsteps outside that sounded quite rushed. She tucked her notebook away into her skirt pockets and looked up.
'Alice?' Cora opened the door and was smiling widely. 'I have a letter from our father he is at Fort William Henry – he invites us there immediately!'
Alice jumped up from the seat and rushed to her sister as fast as her skirts allowed her. 'An invite? Let me see!'
Cora handed over the letter and Alice immediately devoured their beloved father's handwriting. 'Oh Cora! This is wonderful news! When can we leave?' She said, turning her eyes to her sister from the precious letter.
'We will start preparing immediately!' Cora declared, eyes bright with joy.
They hugged each other tightly. Neither could be happier!
Alice was most put out by the illness that delayed the start of their journey. Nonetheless, she was determined to depart as soon as possible. Riding would be easy and with both Cora and Duncan, she was sure the journey would be completed in no time at all. If she were honest, she would admit to feeling a bit weaker than usual – but she wanted to see her father already and that had made up her mind.
'I am well enough to travel Cora.' She said with a smile as she lay in bed, the night before they were due to depart.
'I just wonder whether we should delay longer.' Cora replied, looking at her sister fondly. 'I do not wish you to be overtired.'
'You do not need to worry Cora.' Alice said, snuggling into her bed. 'I am fine. You and Duncan will be there to keep an eye on me. And we will have an accompaniment of soldiers who look after anything else.
'Very well. We will leave tomorrow. Good night.'
Alice couldn't bear to watch. Never had she been so grateful to her sister for hiding her eyes from what was happening. She was afraid! Not from the men who attacked their party – she was afraid that she would do something and then bad things would happen – to Cora or Duncan. She closed her eyes and prayed that it would be over quickly.
It was. Other men came, and rescued them. They were willing to take them to the fort and her father.
Alice resolved to stay as calm as she possibly could. She wouldn't speak unless she had to. Staying calm would make sure nothing bad would happen.
Well, nothing worse than what had already happened.
He was watching her again. She felt it. She wondered what he was thinking. Did he know, this strange man, that she was cursed? She looked away from his eyes and focussed on the ground. Better to worry about where she was walking, than whether he was watching her and judging her. She did wish the path was easier. She gasped. No more wishing!
Dead. All dead. Alice felt heartsick. Will they not bury these poor people? She watched as the men walked ahead. At least it was nothing to do with her – for once.
Her sister challenged them! She was so proud of Cora!
Then she heard one speak. 'They are not strangers.'
Alice's eyes widened and she almost staggered back.
I am cursed.
She didn't care that he was watching her. She believed he knew what she was now. She wondered if he blamed her for his friends back at the cabin. She hoped not – but she felt too weary to care too much. She wanted this all to end. Maybe after she had seen her father one last time. Then she could rest.
She didn't know when she fell asleep – but suddenly she was wide awake. Danger! She felt a scream rise in her throat. Cora! Duncan! A hand fell over her mouth, and another pulled her back. Then a whisper in her ear.
'Do not fight me.'
She froze, recognising the voice of Uncas, the man who watched her. She relaxed. He knows what I am. She looked over and saw her sister lying next to the man called Nathaniel.
She grimaced as she saw Duncan lying some distance away from them both.
'And hot water for baths…'
Yes Duncan. Alice thought sarcastically as she held his hand. A hot bath will cure all the ills I've seen. She looked up to where her sister was. Just as a hot bath will ensure that my sister will forget what she sees in the man she walks with and agrees to marry you instead. She sighed, pretending that it was the walking that was tiring her out, rather than her exasperation with herself and everyone else. Especially Duncan. Goodness, this trip has not shown him in his best light. No wonder Cora prefers Nathaniel. She glanced over surreptitiously to one of their other guides and saw him looking back. She glanced down and hoped the dirt on her skin covered her blush.
I do wish this journey was over already. As the thought drifted into her mind Alice turned pale and felt sick. I didn't mean it! She thought frantically. I didn't!
Duncan was still talking. She got the sense that the rest of the party were rolling their eyes at him. Was he always this pompous? She shook her head. Well, I've already wished now. It's too late to take it back. She shuddered inwardly at the thought that her wishes were being influenced the curse. The she realised she had almost missed her cue. 'I would marry you!' She interjected with a petulant toss of her head, which conveniently meant she could see Uncas' reaction to her words.
A tiny frown developed on his forehead.
Alice smiled sunnily in Duncan's direction. Thank you Duncan!
Alice was too tired to be as dismayed as she should have been, knowing the fort was under siege.
I have brought this on my family.
She felt like weeping.
Alice lay on the bed. I do not ever want to wake up again. I just… Lord, let me go? She begged silently. I have seen my father… I do not want to mistakenly wish for anything ever again..
'Cora!' Duncan's voice broke in as the door burst open.
Alice winced. Duncan. Wonderful. Just after he ensures that the colonial militia cannot go home to defend their families he tries to build a family of his own. She raised her head and then got up, mumbling something about going to see Mr Phelps.
She would leave them to it.
It wasn't like she didn't know what would happen between them.
Apparently the only one who doesn't get it is Duncan.
She shuffled off to find a dark corner to collapse in. She sighed. I do feel quite weak. I don't think all the walking helped me get over my cold.
As she moved she sensed someone watching her. She unconsciously smiled. She knew who it was and slowly made her way indirectly over to him.
'Miss Munro.' Uncas spoke softly. 'Should you be out here?'
'My sister and Major Heyward needed to speak.' She saw his face. 'I believe my sister will be turning down his offer of marriage.' She added quietly before looking down.
She glanced up, puzzled.
'Will you be accepting him, should he ask?' A glint in his eyes.
She slowly smiled back. 'I do not believe Major Heyward thought me serious.' She paused and stared deep into his eyes. 'If however he does, I'm afraid my answer will also be no.'
A repetitive violin tune finally broke through the heavy silence.
Alice blinked and gazed anew at the man opposite her. 'I am tired.' She finally said. 'I must go to bed.'
Uncas nodded gently. 'Good Night Miss Munro.'
Alice straightened up. 'Good Night Uncas.' It was the first time she had uttered his name and she didn't want to ever stop saying it.
He smiled. 'Go now – before you are seen.'
'Yes.' She answered, but didn't move. I want, I wish… On that thought she blinked and stumbled back. I don't wish for anything. Never. Never. She turned and hurried away. Wishing for things only brings bad things. Alice - you stupid, stupid girl!
They had surrendered the fort to the French.
Alice was already blaming herself.
Sitting with her sister on their horse (this time a second could not be spared), Alice was inwardly cursing herself. If it wasn't for you, Nathaniel wouldn't be in chains! He's going to be hung! Cora was gone a long time that night – especially after you saw Duncan much earlier – although he didn't see you, thank goodness, where was she? With Nathaniel I expect – and because of you and your stupid wishing and because you have a curse and a power that you cannot control, all these things are happening! Your father lost the Fort for Heaven's sake! Why on earth did you have to wish for anything you stupid, stupid girl! She bit her lip and prayed that nothing else could possibly go wrong.
She had that thought too soon.
Cries echoed out of the woods. They were surrounded. Cora got them off the horse and tried to hide them from the main force as best she could.
Alice couldn't do anything. Not even when her sister was grabbed by one with a knife.
All Alice could do was watch. Watch as the nightmare around her grew.
Then she saw her father fall.
Chingachgook helped her off her feet before she knew they were even there, and then they were running again. Running away. Running away from the battle and their now dead father.
She shuddered as she remembered Magua's actions.
And only one thought was running through her head as they ran.
My fault. My fault. My fault.
Beneath the waterfall Alice stood apart. She watched as the water cascaded down. If I stepped out, would I survive? I wonder what my chances would be. She unconsciously swayed closer. It would be so easy…
'Get back!' Hands grabbed her and pulled her away.
Uncas! Her mind supplied his name. She leant into his embrace and stopped thinking.
She was safe here. She would rest.
More walking. More walking. Will it ever end? Alice wondered if she could accidentally slip and ensure that the walking, for her at least, would be over. Of course, I wouldn't be getting up again, but is that really… No. She told herself firmly. Suicide is a sin.
But so is magic. And curses.
She pulled a wry face, unnoticed by anyone. It appears whatever I do, I'm condemned.
They stopped for a moment, before carrying on. Then Alice had another realization. I think I prefer the walking. When we stop for good I don't know what will happen. She looked at her sister's back. Oh Cora. I am sorry.
Her French was good enough to follow exactly what Duncan was saying. Nathaniel wanted to sacrifice himself. Duncan mistranslated.
She froze. Duncan!
Then, before she could react, Magua and his men were dragging her off again. She shivered. Is this how I am meant to be punished? Magua's Wife? She eyed Magua's back. I fear it will be a short marriage. Although I think I will be grateful for the end when it comes.
She straightened her back.
She would not go to this as a coward.
She was a Munro.
She would not show them any fear.
They walked on.
Alice heard the faint echo of a gunshot. Duncan! Her mind cried. She shuddered. Tears falling for her friend. He was a good man. Poor Duncan. She looked up to the sky. Duncan. I don't know if you can hear me. I'm sorry. So very sorry. She stumbled and looked down at her where she should be putting her feet as the warrior holding the rope impatiently tugged her along.
She would focus on walking.
It would have to be enough.
He was there. Standing there. Waiting.
Uncas! Her heart leapt. But where are Cora and Nathaniel and Chingachgook? It dawned on her almost immediately. He's alone! The realisation brought her back with a snap to reality. He cannot fight them all and win.
Oh you stupid, stupid man!
She was right. Against Magua he was losing.
He was losing.
He. Was. Losing.
'no.' She whispered it. 'No.' She spoke louder.
Magua struck again. Both warriors moved to strike the final blow, and somehow, somehow, Miss Alice Munro, aged sixteen and a bit, knew.
'NO!' She yelled and flung her right hand out at Uncas as Magua aimed his final, deathly blow.
A blue ball of light glowed around Uncas, deflecting Magua's blow, causing him to stumble and overbalance on the rock.
He regained his footing and turned in awe to see his opponent barely standing, and totally encompassed by a blue glowing light. He blinked in disbelief and turned to see if his warriors saw the same.
He saw instead his warriors cowering whilst a woman, barely more than a girl stood with her arm outstretched, holding Uncas safe from him. Then she turned her eyes to him.
'You murdered my father.' She said coldly, her voice sounding distant, her eyes seeing beyond him into something else. 'You believe you were justified.' She lowered her arm, but Uncas remained safe inside the blue light. 'You tried to kill my sister.' She paused. 'And you managed to ensure that Duncan died.' She stepped toward him. 'What should I do with you Magua?'
Magua stood silently, watching his new opponent, refusing to show any fear.
She sensed her sister, Nathaniel and Chingachgook approaching. She spoke louder so they could hear. 'I'm a witch you know.' Alice said. 'I always have been. It runs in my family. My mother told me when I was very small. She died not long after.' She smiled fondly, thinking of her mother. 'We were cursed you see - never to do magic cursed long ago – before the white man ever came to this land. Before you, Magua, ever had a blood feud with my family.' She stepped closer to him. 'But as with all curses – it could be broken. Or so my mother told me.'
She fished out her now battered notebook, and read aloud 'I remember her saying this, "an evil curse would bring misfortune on the women of the family until a prince, the last of a great line, could break the curse and free the family."' She looked over to Magua. 'Do you know who he is? She said gesturing to the still enclosed Uncas, who was looking a lot healthier than he had a few minutes before. 'He's the last of a great line – a "Prince" if you will – of the Mohican tribe.' She let that sink in. 'And you just tried to kill him.' She turned back to face Magua fully. 'So I ask you again. What should I do with you Magua?'
Magua said nothing, but for the first time Alice could see a glimmer of fear in his eyes. Then he moved and lunged at her with a cry. His blade raised with one final, desperate attempt to escape and to kill Alice in the process.
Alice raised an eyebrow and waited. She didn't move.
Uncas, however, did, throwing himself at Magua, causing him to over balance and fall, this time off the rock, and down the mountainside. Magua landed and died instantly, his neck broken from the fall.
The blue ball evaporated from around Uncas who blinked and then smiled at the now shaking Alice. He reached for her.
Alice straightened up and looked him in the eye. 'I didn't finish.' She said quietly.
'No.' She said. She took a deep breath and then she opened her notebook again. 'My mother said the curse would be broken by love.' She waited.
Uncas looked at her. 'Love?' Then he winced. As he had shifted the cloth of his clothes had brushed against the wound Magua had given him before Alice's intervention. It did not look good.
'Love.' Alice replied firmly. She stepped up to him and then glanced at his wound. She gestured and he nodded. She knelt to be closer to the wound and then pressed her hand on his wound and saw a glow appear. Oh… Please…Heal…
'Are you a witch too?' Nathaniel's voice broke in as he watched Uncas' wounds slowly vanish.
'No, at least I don't think so.' Cora answered faintly.
'No,' said Alice, her attention still focused on a silent Uncas. 'I'm afraid it is just me, as it came from my mother – hence the stories.' She said apologetically, knowing that Cora would understand.
'Thank you.' Uncas said, brushing some hair out of her face.
'You're welcome.' Alice said stiffly. He hasn't said anything about the love part. Maybe it is just meant to be for me to be in love with him… Maybe it is the wrong story! Oh dear…
Uncas helped her to her feet. And then he kissed her.
Oh! It was the right story!
Much later as they made their way back down to make camp in a safer place, Alice remembered the last part of the story, about living happily ever after.
Oh I do hope we manage it.
And they did. But that is another story.
'And they lived happily ever after.' Mrs Lovegood finished to her exhausted daughter. 'The end.'
Luna blinked up at her mother. 'Thank you Mummy.' She smiled sleepily. 'When I get older I shall find my own Prince.' She said.
'Amongst the snorknacks?'
'Mmmhmm. But I'm going to make up other animals so no one realises that snorknacks are real, because my prince will be there waiting.'
Mrs Lovegood blinked. 'I'm sure you'll find him Luna, and he won't go off with anyone else.'
'Not even Ginny Weasley?'
'No, not even her.'
'All right then. Good night Mummy.'
'Good night. Nox.'
The light went out and she closed the door.
Erm, woah. That was fun. Questions, thoughts, comments? Please let me know if you spot anything totally incongruous. This time period etc is not something I consider myself au fait with.