More nerdiness revealed. The origin story of one of my characters from a D&D campaign.
When her brother Maddox left Brookshire as a journeyman, Marion turned to the castle guard to continue her sword training. Learning from the guard captain wasn’t quite the same– Maddox was a patient teacher who believed in her natural ability, whereas the guard captain merely humored her until she left him alone. Despite this, by the time she was thirteen, her skill with a blade earned her a reputation amongst the soldiers that actually garnered her father’s attention, though not in the way she hoped. Immediately Lord Barinor threatened less pay for anyone who continued to train his daughter with a weapon. “What man wants a wife who can defend herself?!” he bellowed. Undaunted, she went every day to bully someone, usually a wet-behind-the ears recruit, into giving her a lesson. Threats and withdrawn meals didn’t stop Marion from stealing a pair of breeches, tying her long red hair back, and heading for the garrison whenever she could.
The day she turned fourteen years old, a knight named Sir Garth, hailing from southern Brookshire, arrived at the manor. Marion was excited by the prospect of a real-live knight—they rarely came this far north and if they did, they never stayed long. Marcus, the oldest of the five Barinor children, made sure of it. He excelled at making people feel unwelcome, and ever since he was denied knighthood, he didn’t much like anyone who had won his shield. Fearing the knight’s visit would be short, Marion waited diligently by the stables, dressed in her brother Mathen’s clothes (Maxim, his twin, promised to beat her into rubble if she took his again), her fingers curled around the pommel of a guard’s sword.
With a sigh, Marion turned around to face her brother. “Marcus, do you spend your whole life waiting around a corner to say something smart? Don’t you have anything better to do?”
“I could ask you the same question.” Marcus unfortunately took after their father, which meant that even if he did manage not to stoop like a hyena over prey, he could only charitably be described as five and a half feet tall. He wore a black cloak with large shoulder pads and a stiff collar, his hair, more orange than red, spiked and wild. “You know why he’s here, don’t you?”
“Because Father thinks his own sons aren’t worth shit?”
Marcus tried to grab her by the front of her jerkin and missed. Marion backed away and brought her sword up. The darkness passed from his face and he laughed. “Go ahead. I hear Sir Garth likes women with a little fight in them. It’ll make it all the more fun for him.”
“What are you talking about?”
Marcus turned away with a dramatic twirl of his cloak (she hated when he did that) and walked briskly toward the manor, calling over his shoulder, “Oh nothing. How many days do you think Father will lock you up when I tell him where you are and what you’re wearing?”
“Marcus, you dripping pile, I’ll-”
“Mari, don’t.” A strong pair of hands gripped her shoulders, keeping her from a charge. “Let him go.”
Marion grit her teeth, but obeyed, watching her brother jauntily head inside. “Pom, he’s going to tell on me!”
“Let ‘im,” spat the stableboy. “He’s a coward and yer father’ll prolly give him a smack for being a snitch. He’s over twenty for Lord’s sakes.”
“I just wanted to spar that knight, just once, and he’ll probably leave tonight and I’ll never have the chance!”
Pom shifted uncomfortably. At first glance, he seemed typical stableboy fare: tall, gangly, straw-haired. But under the bad haircut, the maddening acne, and the faintest whiff of horse, he knew things. There was only one reason why a single knight with a lot of land came to a manor that happened to have one daughter just turned marriagable age. He watched his dear, earnest Marion, taking practice swipes with the stolen blade.
“Why is Mucus such a bastard?” She ranted. “I can’t do a damn thing around here without him interfering in my business. He’s supposed to be the lordling, you’d think he’d have better things to do than prance around in that sissy cape.”
“Seems to me he’s doing exactly what a lordling should be doing.”
“Anyway if you ask me, I’d be less worried about Mucus and more worried bout what’ll happen to you when Maxim finds you’re wearin’ his breeches.”
“They’re Mathen’s. ‘Sides, I think I look better in ’em than he does.”
“I think you look prettier in a dress.”
Marion sheathed her blade with a smirk. “Oh what now? You gonna kiss me again?”
“Only if you deserve it,” he said, smiling back.
“Only if you can catch me!” Marion took off across the courtyard, tossing her hair, beckoning. He chased her, the girl with breeches and a sword on her hip.