Story for the day: Forgotten
The unfortunate circumstance that had befallen Nerri was explained and though she was left with a hollow sense of understanding, she was told she was not to be blamed for her ignorance. Something so simple and expected to others was so foreign and misconstrued by herself and Nerri had felt deceived. She was under the mistake that a woman’s body was an evil and undesirable object unless cleansed with the blessing of children. She was saddened by the illumination the commander conveyed and though she was pleased to be corrected, she felt the need to tell her clansmen what she had learned. She knew they would not accept an explanation so readily but there could be no more misinformation spread to those of her age. She wished to liberate those of her sex and impart there was no reason for them attach themselves to a man they did not know for the sake of purifying themselves from such an invalid curse, but her efforts she knew would go unheeded. The cutting of her hair, the donning of men’s armour and desire to fight in the armed forces had made her estranged to her people and even if she returned, she would not be recognized as one of them.
The only person with whom Nerri could share her newfound enlightenment on the subject was Merra Lingha, her most devoted sister who was placed in the infirmary to learn the art of healing beside Bilar. She was due to see her sister in the evening just as she had done every day since their arrival in the keep but when she came to the entrance of the infirmary across from the soldier’s mess, she witnessed Merra and Bilar standing together. They were poring over a book of some significance, leaning jointly in the same fashion, their faces expressing the same wondrous sentiment. The eyes of the reserved cleric held a fondness for Merra Lingha. Her quiet manners and meek temper was to be admired and Nerri watched how attentive Bilar was with her sister. There was a warm glow about them, their airs and gestures delicate and accepting.
Nerri was at first pleased to see her sister in so rapt a state but when she realized she could not be noticed through Merra Lingha’s enchantment, she felt all the exclusion the situation could afford. She felt a pang of grief for the loss of her sister’s company. She was saddened to be forgotten and disregarded and yet pleased that Merra, after being nearly given away to a man whom she had never met, was able to find someone of her own choosing rather than being a victim of her clan’s pronouncement. She waited a few moments by the entranceway to be recognized but the interest shared was overpowering and Nerri thought it advisable to leave them alone.
She walked from the infirmary through the yeoman’s quarter toward the stone steps that led to the battlements at the front of the castle. She sat between the merlons, hanging her slender legs over the crenels, looking down at the capital below with wilted shoulders and a dejected countenance. He fiddled with her silver breastplate and short mantle and though she was observing the business of the capital below, it was an empty observation. Her mind was fixed on the segregation she would be made to endure for the sake of her sister’s happiness. It would not be a segregation without purpose but the realization that she must learn to continue solitarily was unsettling.
Captain Connors was returned from his inspection at the main gate of the capital when he saw Nerri’s feet along the battlements above. He thought it odd that she should be without her sister to accompany her, as he had never seen either one of them without the other after they had finished their daily training in their respective fields. He thought perhaps something had happened in his short absence and though Nerri was not in his regiment, he made it his object to look after her. She had not noticed him when he approached from the walkway. He remarked her low stares and expression of dismay and he gained the notion that something had gone horridly wrong. He softly said her name to gain her attention.
Nerri turned and stood at attention when she saw the captain standing behind her. “Captain, sir,” she obediently declared with a salute and a stiff posture.
“At ease, Nerri,” Captain Connors laughed. “I’m not your commanding officer and we’re not on duty.”
Nerri shifted her feet and gave the captain an averted glance.
“Aren’t you usually with your sister in the evenings?”
“She’s studying with Bilar.” Nerri paused and looked to the side. “I didn’t want tae interrupt.”
Form Nerri’s uneasy manner and sadness of tone, Captain Connors gathered that she had perhaps witnessed something secretive between the cleric and her sister. He nodded, understanding her rightful sentiment of exclusion. Her pensive, dark eyes and eager looks had gained his consideration and he thought an attempt at befriending her was wise. “Would you care to have something to eat together?” he asked, gesturing toward the capital below.
Nerri’s eyes instantly brightened. “Sure,” she said smilingly. “Where are we allowed tae go?”
“Would you like to pick one of the taverns?”
Nerri canted her head and seemed bemused. “Tavern?”
The captain was about to profess of the many unexceptionable establishments in Frewyn when he realized, “You’ve never been inside one before, have you?”
Nerri shook her head in mild humiliation.
“Would you allow me to choose where we eat?”
Nerri succumbed to wide smiles and colouring cheeks to signify her approval of the idea. She followed Captain Connors down the steps and through the main hall and when they reached the iron gate, he made certain that she was always walking at his side and never at his heel.