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By My Sword
Vivians bade rang as she slashed it against a sword repeatedly. It could have been a real sword in a real battle, or even training bout. Could have been. But who would take a girl to battle? Who would train a girl? Who but the girl?
She was standing in her cellar, dimly lit by torches, going through the same practice routines. She loved to fight. She knew she wasn’t half as good as any boy- but she could be. If only she were given a chance, allowed to train with masters, or even people.
Asking was the kind of mistake you only make once.
So she didn't ask. She didn't ask for anything anymore, because she could give it to herself. And someday i she practiced enough and somehow got a chance to train in a functional setting, she would prove just what she could do. By her sword she would prove it.
Just then, that sword sliced through the practice dummy. She cursed and sheathed her sword. It had been wearing out for a while, but how was she supposed to eplace it?
“Oh, it's, uh… for my husband,” she imagined saying in a high, weak voice.
“Can you carry it?”
That would be where the conversation ended. She couldn't make her own, not anything to last more than one practice. Where would she get the money? Where would she learn to make it?
She turned with her shoulders in a defeated slump and put out the torches as she walked to the ladder, putting on her skirt over her sword and mens leggings.
She pushed up the trapdoor and shoved the rug aside, climbing up to the cellar proper with the winter food storage. She collected a slab of cured pork and walked up, smiling at her brother. She hated the smile.
“I've been looking for suitors for you.” Not this again. He wasn't supportive of her training, not that he knew she did it, but he wasn't as bad as a husband would be.
“We’ve talked about this.”
“Yeah, well, it’s my house. You’re mine. I say when you marry.”
“I say I don't want to.”
“Then go join a convent! I'm not housing an old spinster forever, girl.”
“Fine.” she would turn every suitor off. “Find someone who wants a stubborn, lazy, uncooperative, rude bride. Good luck.”
He had good luck. He somehow found someone intrested despite her best efforts. He repulsed her. She was only given a moment, all she could manage to bring was her sword, which didn't say much because she always had it strapped to her pnts under her skirt.
So she ran away.
With her sword and nothing else… nothing but… she took out her sword and cut her hair blind, tore off her skirt and slashed it into tatters for good measure, destroyed her corset(side note, sorry to distract. This isn't a statement against corsets. They get enough hate as it is, and personally I moderatly support them, and techniclly victorian men wore corsets, but for the sake of the story shes taking it off), and cut her sleeves to a rugged, almost tunic style. Then she tried to join the army.
Turned out her face was to feminine and she didn't pass for a boy, or at least a tough one. At least they didn't try to send her off to her ‘husband to be’. What next?
She would still keep her oath. She turned and walked into the forest, smiling. With her sword she cut off a bough of wood and made a bow and quiver. She would be a thief.
She found a cut off part of her sleeve and fashioned a mask. She tried to make a hideout but it was a miracle she had managed to pull off the hidden cellar and she didn't do it alone. She could do it. If anyone would train a woman to. She had plans, grand plans, a hideout large enough for more than her, for all the underestimated warriors… and only women. But she didn't get further than some stacked stone walls. It was hard to build those walls, yes, but she had the drive. But she had no clue how to build a roof, or beds, or anything else, let alone materials.
She had more plans than her hideout. She was going to be famed as great, a lethal theif, the best in the forest, in the land. Yet she couldn't successfully get anything. She also couldn't find any women like her, because like her, they kept it secret. Yet everything had been going so perfectly.. In hr head. The only thing she could manage was hunting. Sometimes.
Just like he said would happen. The only time she ever told someone who she was. She was weaker.
Not because she was a woman, but because as a woman she had no oppertunities. She was weaker because she was made weaker.
Yet she had a promise. She swore by her sword. She failed. She walked to a stream and slowly drew he sword, staring at it's polished reflection for one last time and placing it in the water. It glinted once and washed away.
She had failed. She had been made to fail, and everything had been set up for her to fail. So she was defeated. She walked home, docile as a cow, broken, and married.
Her eyes never sparkled again. She never laughed or smile again. She never fought again. She never lived again. But her shell went on. The perfect housewife.