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Pen Your Pride

I was seven when my parents where killed in front of me. That was eleven years ago.

" I am ready."

"Are you sure?"

"I said I’m ready." I can see frozen air curling off my breath. It's cold, too cold for this time of the year, but nothing will deter me.

" Alright , alright, your ready. Take off your jacket and your skirts." The slightest bits of snow begining to fall, landing lightly on Henry and I. I wonder if this will be a problem,we didn’t factor in any snow. But I dismiss the idea as soon as it enters my head, I’ve been waiting too long for this moment to be slowed down by a little snow.

As soon as I take off my jacket I can feel the cold biting into my skin and my resolve weakens and I think I might fall but Henry holds out a hand to steady me as I fumble with the leather fastening on my heavy skirts.Then he looks down at me and smiles.

" I should wish you luck but you. I know you won’t need it." I allow myself to laugh even though I throw my skirts at him and tell him to hush or someone might hear us. He is right though, I don't need luck. I never do. This is as much a part of me as my raven black  hair or my blue green eyes.

 I watch as Henry crushes down and picks up his heavy rucksack from the frozen earth. I breathe in the bitter air and know I'm alive, fully and totally alive.

I can sense the crunch of frosted grass under the pressure of his feet, hear the cry of small finches in their nest somewhere behind us, I can feel blood and adreniline pumping though my veins.

"Here, M'lady." Henry passes me a pair of worn boys trousers and a cloak equally tattered. The trousers are tight around my hips and I curse under my breath, it’s getting harder to disguise myself as a boy. Soon I’ll have to find some other way to travel the Northern Aaun Passageways. The cold begins to burn my cheeks and sting my eyes but in a matter of seconds we'll be off. Nothing will matter then.

Henry clasps his hand onto my arm and pauses to look me in the eye," Are you absolutely sure you are ready?".  Henry cannot be serious, if he does not know how I have been longing for this moment he does not know me.

" Henry. If I were not ready I wouldn't have wasted all this time of preparation. Everything is in place, it is either now or never." I walk towards Ari, Henry's horse and begin to mount as Henry walks towards the older,slower horse, Marnie, he insisted it would be safer if I were to ride Ari.

" Fine. You’re right of course. It' is just... be careful."

I laugh ruefully and pat the dagger I keep in my sheath as if to make sure it is still at my side.

" I'm always careful. Otherwise I'd be dead."

For nearly twenty minutes Henry rides cross bow in hand, though I haven’t a clue how he can manage to handle both the weapon and the horse, especially one so unsturdy as Marnie. Spirits help him, I know if I weren’t riding with him he wouldn’t be half as cautious.

Even at this hour of the night , even with me dressed as a boy he still cannot let go of the fear that accompanies riding on this side of the Northern Aaun.

Theives, cut-throats and bandits oh my. Henry and his brothers travel this side of the Aaun almost once every month to trade or sell what ever suplies they can get their hands on.

Even though  there's less to risk with the five of them, five strong  able-bodied men who are always armed with weapons. It's still dangerous.

No matter I'm in everyway Henry's match with a sword and I'm nearly twice as accurate with a bow, there are still reasons why it's more dangerous for me here, physically men are stronger.

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