Daria on the Trail Part One

DISCLAIMER: I do not own either the Game of Thrones or A Song of Ice and Fire. Nor do I own Daria Morgendorffer. The former belongs to GRR Martin and Daria belongs to MTV Viacom. This story based on the real Oregon Trail and has little or nothing to do with the computer game of the same name. This work of fiction is written for my own amusement and ego gratification, not for profit.

My thanks to Ultimate Paladin for giving me the idea that inspired this story.

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Daria from Daria: Winter Is Coming lands in my Farewell to the Riverlands project.

Daria woke up with a start. There was something on her leg. Whatever it was, it was moving. She sat up, brushing the thick, scratchy woolen blanket away from her chest. She was lying on the ground. It was dark: late night or early morning, she guessed by the bright stars overhead and by hint of dawn off on the horizon.

What the Hell, she asked herself. Where was she? What was she doing outdoors? And why had she been dressed when she'd suddenly woken up? She remembered coming in the night before, splashing water on her face in the bathroom she'd been shared with another grad student, then retiring to the bedroom she'd shared with her, slithering into bed and falling asleep. She wasn't dressed like she was now; she'd been wearing pajamas.

Her heart started pounding harder as she began taking in more of her surroundings. She'd been lying inside a circle of what looked like covered wagons. Other people were up and stirring around. So were what she thought were cows, at least as far as she could guess by the mooing and other noises they made. By the sounds they were making, they were waking up and breaking camp. Just like pioneers crossing the prairies, she thought sardonically.

Whatever the hell is going on, you'd better get up, girl, some inner voice told her. You're likely to be stepped on or tripped over. She rose to her feet. The idea of getting stepped on or tripped over by some guy was bad enough, but the idea of being stepped on by what were presumably oxen was worse. Where the Hell was she, she wondered again.

Despite the fact that it was still dark, she could tell that there was a woman nearby and by the sound of her voice, she was waking up her children. Daria walked over to her, thinking that if they were way out here, they presumably spoke some English.

"Excuse me," she said, "Where are we?"

"Who are you?" said the woman. She said it in Andal, not English, Daria realized with a shock. It was too dark for Daria to check out the style of the woman's dress, but the nearby covered wagons looked like mid-19th century prairie schooners of the sort used by Oregon pioneers or by forty-niners during the California Gold Rush, not the earlier Conestoga wagons used in the east or anything she thought was used back in Europe during the Middle Ages.

"My name is Daria Morgendorffer," Daria replied in her hard-learned Andal, "I'm from Lawndale, Maryland and I fell asleep in a room near Boston before waking up here."

"You're an American. You speak Andal," the strange woman said wonderingly. "Not very many of your people do."

"Thanks," said Daria. "I had a couple of good teachers."

"But to answer your question, we are in what I think is Nebraska on our way to Oregon," said the woman. "We left Westport seven weeks ago and we still have a long way to travel."

Daria stopped and took several deep breaths. Her first impulse was to take these people as hard-core pioneer reenactors, although why this woman and presumably other people in this party spoke Andal didn't match. Her theory began to take a beating from the sights and smells and sounds coming at her from all sides as the pioneers began to pack up their gear, yoke their oxen, and began cooking breakfast. began to chip other holes in her theory. The smell of the animal dung they used to fuel their campfires was quite distinctive: Daria remembered it from a field trip to a pioneer museum back in Highland. Why the Hell would anyone use that in the twenty-first century when gas and alcohol fired-grills were available? She started looking for other anachronisms and couldn't find any: the obvious ones like cell phones and cameras were missing. Nor did anybody have coolers, plastic bags, Tupperware, toothbrushes, toilet paper, other things that made a turn-of-the-millennium outing halfway-tolerable. She could chalk up the former being missing to these people being hard-core reenactors, but what worried her was that the latter were missing too. She began to worry that these people weren't re-enactors at all: instead they were the real deal and that somehow, some way, she had been brought from her world and her time to this one.

Author's Note:

This alternate-universe Daria Morgendorffer is from my story Daria: Winter Is Coming.