Pain

This was password protected because it might be too painful. People have said it’s fine, though. But be warned. There’s serious painfulness.

I spent an entire day visiting people. There were messages to be given, threads to be picked up, fathers to be apprehended.

In the morning, when I was visibly wan from worrying all night, I put my dilemma to Moyri. I was surprised, really surprised when she didn’t need to pause to think for a single moment. Report him, she said, don’t give him a chance!

She’d already done her thinking, instead of waiting for the last possible night.

So, Lord Radan, the Sheriff of Turenay was our first visit. To our surprise, he didn’t seem to feel much urgency, asking us whether apprehending Father could wait to until after the fencing match. That was so weird, because I am pretty sure what if Father hears I’m in Turenay again, he’ll — well, maybe he won’t think I’m going to turn him in. I didn’t for years, after all. But Moyri put on her commander face and told Lord Radan that, yes, there was urgency there, not the hanging, that could wait, but the arrest should happen now. And I added that it might be a good idea to ask my brothers whether they had been raped, too. Maybe not, because they’re sons, maybe yes, because, after all, boys have a behind, too.

After that, it was Lady Rava, with news from her daughter and son-in-law. Doctor Cora, who just had done an operation, so I let her sit in my lap and gave her strength. Especially Moryn couldn’t believe how pretty the doctor is! But Maile and Moyri also had a hard time, us old hospital hands have become pretty inured of course! We visited Mernath, to order good swords for our apprentices. To the fencing masters, to enrol Moyri. To the Ishey, where Asa and Veh had just returned with two more babies, from the temple of the Mother in Rizenay.

We also met lots of former lovers, too, on the streets, but that actually wasn’t embarrassing at all. They were mostly happy that I had gained a wife!


The next day was the fencing match! We went early, and took food and drink with us. Moyri was on quite early, the organizers hadn’t matched her properly because her first opponents were way too inexperienced. Dear organizers, this woman has been a professional soldier for fourteen years! There were some interesting matches, but Moyri was right that I didn’t have the right temperament for fencing matches. When I fight, I fight, and I’m not afraid of getting some bruises or cuts. These days, doctors trained by doctor Cora can heal most cuts without leaving any scars!

Sergeant Lysna came out first, Jichan astin Brun second and Moyri third. The match between Jichan and Moyri was quite exciting, and I still think that Moyri was actually better than Jichan. Jichan’s father, Lord Vurian, didn’t participate. He had made it known that his match with Baroness Senthi of Sarabal in the spring match was his last match.

Well, actually, Moyri had forgotten that her last match would be at the end of the day, so we were already having a beer when she had to jump up, run away, and fight. She won another barrel of beer. The beer small Raisse from Valdis brews is better, though, and certainly better than the beer the proprietor of this inn, the Dolphin, I think it was called, brews, so I mentioned her name.

All in all, quite an enjoyable day that ended well. But…

My father is now in Lord Radan’s lock-up, but hasn’t been hanged yet. There won’t be a public trial: the Queen has foreseen things like this, and I’ve testified, now my Father will be confronted with my testimony by Lord Radan without me present, and if there’s anything that makes Lord Radan have doubts, he’ll ask me to come by and reply. After that, there’s be a decision entered in the books and if he’s sentenced, he’ll be hanged. The decision won’t be posted, only the people I, my mother and my father want to be notified, they will receive an official message.

As Raisse explained when we were in Valdis, a public trial is good for things that touch the public interest, or when the people need a public warning, but that’s not the case with crimes like this.

And I don’t want that exposure. I don’t want the friends I’ve taken into my bed start wondering whether I wanted them because of what was done to me, instead of because I just wanted them to. I don’t want people to point at my mother and say, look, there’s the woman who wasn’t enough of a wife for her husband. I don’t want them wondering whether the same happened to Baran, who is thirteen now.

And I’m going to leave Turenay behind, and it’s not likely I’ll ever return, if only because it would mean another sea voyage for Moyri, but the people I’m leaving behind, they should be able to go and live on in peace.

Raisse from Valdis was very pleased I had recommended her beer to the host of the Dolphin, and Rava and Arni were, just like me and Moyri, still in the touch, kiss, grab, hold, stroke, giggle phase of their being-together. So it occurred to me that Ferin and Moryn and a toddler and a baby were the only men here in this household. But whether that made them uncomfortable, or whether it made them feel the silliness of us, I don’t know.

We were plenty silly, though, and in the end, we found a place where Moyri and I could be together alone, and it turned out to be a good night, too.


The next morning we slept in, and in the afternoon I had my promised fight with Sergeant Lysna. She was a bit stiff because of the exercise of the match, and she had a huge hang-over because of the barrel of wine that she’d won, and shared. But that was all to the good. I had asked for a fight because I wanted our apprentices to learn that a real fight is what you do if you’re too tired, sick, broken or exhausted to fight, and you still do it. Like the Sergeant always says, you only start becoming a real soldier if you stop looking forward to the ease and rest you get after your work is done. Never go into a war campaign with the idea that there will ever be an end to it.

We had a proper fight, first with steel, then with semsin, and with a doctor’s attentions in between. While the doctor was healing a cut in my breast, I healed a gash in Lysna’s side — without the doctor noticing. Moryn was white as a sheet — there was quite a bit of blood, and worried he’d have to learn to do the same thing. But no, not everyone needs to learn to fight to the end, and, in fact, I’ve never had a fight to the absolute end myself.

The fight with semsin was maybe even more spectacular, because we had armour made of anie, weapons made of anie and wounds in our anea. I lost consciousness, so I should have lost, but then I got up before the Sergeant, who was, in her own bubble of seal, asleep. I couldn’t get through the seal, so I went to her office, got her bottle of red ink and dripped it all over her.

That woke her up!

She nodded to me, and said, “Well, Khushi! I guess you needed that, right? It isn’t like you haven’t been through a campaign yourself that you never could see the end of. Though sometimes, there is an end to it.”

Sergeant Lysna knew, and let me own my own fight. And taught me how to fight, and didn’t take it away from me.

And she was right. My father never owned even the smallest bit of me. He didn’t own my sex, he didn’t own my soul and he even never owned my pain. I was mine, and now I’m Moyri’s.

Four more days before we can travel on to Veray.