The as the sun starts to crest the horizon, I rise from my bed and prepare to start the day. Since mother passed and Ed moved to Ben’s house, I often find myself feeling quite lonely, and miss our crowded past. After grabbing a bronze cup of water and placing on my leather leggings and top, I leave the house to perform my exercise. My training starts with stretches followed by 2 laps of the village. Once the muscles are all warmed up and limber, I start to do 60 squats and 60 pushups, followed by 50 situps. Then I go over the exercises Ben taught, particularly the soft skills which focus on the disarment and disabling of lightly armoured men.
When Ben first started training me, I thought it was a pain and complained. But when the boys were playing with sticks and told me I couldn’t join, that I had to be the princess that needed to be rescued, I enjoyed putting them in the ground. Later when I started to get older and had started developing, I got into a problem with a drunkard at the inn. I was waiting tables when suddenly someone, a big beefy guy who had been drinking since noon grabbed my ass, hard. When I screamed, he and his friends started to laugh at me putting tears in my eyes. When Greta started shouting that she would call the guards, they tried to play it off and one of them tried to rub my head with an apology. I grabbed that hand and twisted, before forcing it behind his back. With a quick repositioning of my left leg in front of his and pushed forward, tripping him into going face first to one of the tables, knocking 2 front teeth out. Facing his stunned companions, I curtsied, saying in a demure voice, “Apology accepted, my good sirs”.
The evening almost ended in a brawl between the creep’s buddies and the other patrons who came to my defence. Fortunately, a pair of guards showed up one of which was my brother. The night ended with them apologising for the disturbance and forced to leave Oakbridge that night. Since then I understood my brothers concern over my ability to protect myself.
In the future I shouldn’t have these problems though. I plan to marry a knight just like my big brother. They will be able to protect me from harm, take me to parties and live in a big house just like the Roc family. I once fancied Ethel, but then he got married and I put a stop to that plan, though that’s not a problem as I can just aim higher now. It’s a good thing I never told Ethel about those feelings as I now visit his house every day. Since about 2 years ago I have been going to the Roc family to see Ethel’s mother, Molly, and learn Etiquette from her. My friends told me that if they wanted to marry nobility then it would take more than looks, you need manners and knowledge of high society. I tried asking Ben but he told me that he never paid attention to that so he couldn’t teach it. It was about then that Ethel told me that his mother served under a noble lady for several years before marrying his father and she agreed to teach me what I needed to know.
As I finished my exercise, I went down to Ethan’s house to continue my lessons, saying good morning to Mum and Dad’s graves on the way up. Since Mum died and Ed moved out to live on his own, I inherited the house. Usually Ben would be the one to inherit, but he bought a house of his own 3 years ago so I could have the house to act as my dowry when I decide to marry. The house is much larger than when I was a child and could be sold for several dragons if I wanted to. I also have about2 dragons worth as a yearly allowance from Ben that is kept at the margraves for safe keeping.
As I cross the bridge, my horses hooves clapping against the solid wood, I can’t help but think back to what has happened these past few years;
Mom died a year ago. She came down with a fever during the middle of winter. I tried everything I could, but it ultimately resulted in just making her comfortable. Without a local healer and the roads blocked by a foot of snow no outsiders could be brought. When she passed, she asked me and Ed to look after Elsa, protect her from the cruel world.
Ed continued in the guards and has now moved out of the house, about ayear after I became a knight and is now the best swordsman in the guards. Not a very impressive accomplishment when the guards are only 20 strong. But the fact that he’s been exercising since young and was trained in the sword by me and Ethan puts him way ahead of the rest.
Ethel is still with Raven’s Claw which has increased in numbers to 45 men. Even after becoming a knight of a minor house, he kept travelling with the mercenaries, and has become one of their lieutenants, in charge of 10 men. His reason was that unlike me who can hunt, he needs a job to save funds for his own children. He married the woman he was courting, called Sasha, and they have been trying for a child. He still spends winter in Oakbridge with his family and tells stories of his adventures down at the tavern.
Elsa brings me worry still. She grew up to be a fine young lady and is at the age she should be looking for a husband. I am in no rush to marry her off despite making the preparations, but I'm afraid her ideals are a bit too high. She grew up around me and Ethel talking about knights and their stories and tales, leading her to dream of marrying one in the future. I have no problem with that, as the sister of a knight, beautiful and literate she’d make the perfect wife for any knight or even some non-inheriting lords son. I've even brought her to several tourneys and feasts to meet the younger knights and capable sons.
The problem is she is too picky. The young men she meets are either too immature, ugly or unskilled. Between me and Ed there hasn’t been anyone that’s dared mess with Elsa for years and I am a multi champion archer and swordsman who could beat any of her suitors with my hands tied behind my back. Ironically the only boys she has taken a liking to were Rob and Jon the Stark boys. They are very skilled for their age, good looking and have inherited their fathers serious temperament. They are also the only ones not scared of me. Course she’s only met them once and I'm sure if she gets to know them she’ll dismiss them same as the rest.
‘*sigh* I just hope she grows out of it eventually and learns that this world isn’t a fairy tale. Knights are usually not much more than peasants that have good fighting skills and manners.’ I think while heading towards home.