Trials of a Warrior: First Chance
There never were any civilian defenses in Meridell before. There was never any need to have them. After the wars however, even King Skarl saw the advantages in having civilian defenses. At first, Jeran was training the civilians. He was the best knight for the job after all. But training civilians, along with all of his other responsibilities, became too much. Jeran turned to his friend, Rashen Mourvan, for help. Jeran pleaded with the Zafara and he eventually gave in. To train the civilians, Rashen would have to move his family to central Meridell. The family quickly settled into city life. As the years went on, Rashen became trainer to the pages and squires, while his daughter grew up in a life of thieves and warriors.
Sarashi crouched under an abandoned cart. The guards would find her soon. She wasn’t worried about that; it was what would happen to her afterwards that she was worried about. They would take her to her father. Sarashi knew what he would think. He would say that she shouldn’t have been wandering the streets at all. She was supposed to be at home. But he couldn’t really expect her to stay at home all day and she planned to tell him so.
As she was contemplating her fate, a Grarrl guard turned over the cart that she was under. The Zafara sighed and stood up. Sarashi was tall, with an unusually dark red pelt with muscles rippling underneath and pitch black ear spots. She wore a black leather necklace with a rose quartz inset, a hunter green shirt, and light brown pants. On most days she wore a sword at her side, and a bow and quiver of arrows on her back. Today however, she carried only a pack on her back.
She had been thieving. Usually the guards never noticed when something like that was going on. This fact had made her unusually cocky. The guards had spotted her carelessness and she was forced to run. Now as they walked to the castle, Sarashi began to compose her story. What could she say to make her father believe her innocence?
They arrived at the castle and began toward her father’s office. In the past year, she had walked this passage many times. Finally they arrived at the door. She knew the drill from here. Gently, she rapped on the door.
“Come in,” called a voice.
Sarashi slowly stepped inside and closed the door behind her. The office was simple enough. Bookshelves lined either side and there was a desk at one end of the room. Behind the desk sat a red Zafara. His pelt looked identical to his daughter’s but his body was much more muscled. Instead of the typical green and brown of civilian clothing, Rashen wore the blue and red of service to the King. When he looked up and saw his daughter he sighed and motioned for her to take a seat. When Sarashi was comfortably seated, Rashen spoke.
“I had a feeling it was you. Do you mind letting me know what it was that you did this time?”
“I was thieving again,” she admitted. “Lyra’s family is sill in need. Someone has to do something and it won’t be the King. Lyra has been as good as a sister to me and I had to do something to help. Even in a good year they barely get enough to feed their family.”
Rashen groaned as Sarashi continued. “That’s not the only reason, though. I’m bored. I get the chores done in the morning and then I sit around and do nothing all day.”
She suddenly got a wild gleam in her eyes and added, “There’s a way to fix that though.”
Rashen fidgeted in his chair. He knew that look. It always made the conversation steer in a certain direction.
Sarashi continued, “You could let me train with the pages and squires. I’ll bet I could even teach them some things. You said I was that good!”
“No!” said Rashen. “Women have no place training with weapons. You only know what you do because you defend our house! We’ve been over this a thousand times!”
Just then a guard came through the door. “Rashen,” he said, “the King wants you to start the civilian defenses again. He thinks that Darigan will attack. He wants to be prepared.”
“Wha...” he started, and then a smile slowly spread across his face. If he gave Sarashi the post, she would soon see why he wouldn’t allow her to train. “Fine,” he said instead. “Tell him we’ll start as soon as we can.”
Once the guard was gone, Rashen turned back to his daughter. He grinned, revealing white teeth.
“Ok,” he told her. “You want to train others in weapons, right?”
“Yes,” she replied suddenly uncertain.
“Then I give you the job of training the civilians in weapons and hand-to-hand combat.”
Sarashi grinned. This was just the chance she had been waiting for. As she stood up to leave, she said, “Thank you. I won’t let you down.”
The next day Sarashi was preparing to travel to the training site. She had been so excited last night that she hadn’t gotten any sleep. Now as she was packing, she was constantly nodding off. It went on like this for a while, so when she was done packing she went to sleep.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Sarashi bolted upright in bed and ran to the door. When she opened it, she saw her father standing there.
“Come on,” said Rashen. “We have an audience with the king.”
“I’m coming,” she told him. As they walked toward the castle, Rashen began instructing his daughter in what the audience was for and how Sarashi should address the king. It turned out that the audience was to discuss her new position as the civilian trainer. They arrived and when they were announced Sarashi took a deep breath and stepped inside the throne room. She and Rashen bowed and the King spoke.
“So you are the new trainer?” he asked. Before waiting for a response he continued. “I was told that you were young but the fact that you are female is disturbing. You are as capable of fighting and training as a newborn Gelert pup.”
Sarashi prickled at those words. She had used weapons since she was barely able to walk. She was about to respond but her father caught her eye and she stopped what she was going to say. Her father responded instead.
“I mean no disrespect, your Majesty, but my daughter has been thoroughly trained. She is more advanced than some squires and she works harder than any page or squire that I know...”
As her father went on, Sarashi was surprised at the words coming from his mouth. He had always discouraged her from taking a training position and now here he was sticking up for her.
Suddenly it hit her; Rashen wanted her to get the job and fail. It would prove his point, that women had no place in combat. It would prove that he was right. Sarashi could not and would not let that happen.
Sarashi spoke. “Your Majesty, I will work hard to train the civilians just as the pages and squires are trained. I will not give up my job until I have completed the task. You can count on me.” With that, Rashen and Sarashi left.
Over the next few days, Sarashi set up camp in a clearing near Illusen’s glade. She traveled to the different towns and villages recruiting many civilians. It was hard work but eventually she had enough pets to start training. The training started rough but Sarashi was determined to make it.
And so begins the test of a warrior and her determination to succeed. Will the world of combat prove to be overpowering, or will Sarashi Mourvan live up to her family legacy?