This is a guest post short story series by Redwinged Raven. Read more of her stories at World Anvil!
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More stories by Redwinged Raven:
I have value?
Me, with all my doubts and fears,
dreams and ambitions?
Do most others grow up knowing this?
When you grow up in complete absence,
even such basic knowledge won’t dawn on you right away.
He approaches slowly, carefully, so as not to startle.
Until one day the full knowledge dawns
And your living is forever changed.
But there is always a trigger that starts the dawn.
My grandparents were elders in the village. When those who bore me vanished, they became my parents. To my memory, they are my only parents. Though they were fond of telling me I’d inherited too much of my father along with his red hair. They loved me too much to let me walk down that devil’s path, they said, so they were very severe with me and made sure they did not spare the rod.
Nutham and Mirang were elders in the village. Part of their job was looking elder-like before the people, like the outside of a cup endlessly cleaned. I, being the granddaughter of elders, could not appear as a spot on the cup of Nutham and Mirang. I behaved perfectly before the people and was volunteered as the village errand girl. I existed to serve.
Whenever the village would gather for celebration, it was expected that I would sing. Everyone, my grandparents included, praised my voice. And I loved to sing. In public I made sure to sing only the songs they loved; the few times I showed my own songs to my grandparents, they observed them with critical eyes.
So I quickly learned to keep my songs to myself. Those I would sing to the ever-listening trees in the lonely quiet. I spent as much time as I could in the hidden places of the forest. In those moments I was happiest.
As I grew up, raiders began to trouble the village farms. The elders decided to form a standing fighting force, and I was placed on it. Though few women were made members, I was a granddaughter of Nutham and Mirang. I would have chosen to learn the bow, but my grandparents removed me from the archers to concentrate on the sword, spear, and shield. My days became filled with training and patrols and fighting.
I had no time for singing. I missed the quiet companionship of the trees. I spoke of my troubles to my grandparents, but Nutham and Mirang told me to keep up the good fight.
That was my trigger.
I stared at the sword given me.
I refused to take it.
The very next day I joined the archers. The bow felt right in my hands. I already had some practice, as I had picked it up long before my grandparents forbade it. I made sure my patrols were in my forest, where I was most at ease.
My grandparents were furious, of course. Nutham and Mirang were offended publicly. They were certain I had taken the first step towards the horrors of my father. I ignored them. They had run my life all my life, but this life was my choice.
Things became very bad. Within the village, the seasons passed. The convictions of Nutham and Mirang did not pass with them but only seemed to grow in strength and spite.
I became very sick with a high fever. After that, I do not remember much, but when I awoke I was nowhere near the village. A strong, gentle voice assured me all was well. And on the horizon, I saw the first dim lights of dawn.
To be continued! What do you think? Let us know in the comments!