"Bless yer beautiful hide! Wherever ye may be! We ain' met yet, but I'm a-willin' to bet! Yer the lad for me!"
Oh, My Lady! Thank you! I know we have spent many mornings together and I have thanked you on every one, but this time I mean it even more! Last night was amazing! So perfect and breathtaking and so, so good. Thank you for him, My Beautiful Lady! I see the Wonderful Day all around me!! I know why the birds sing after a storm. There is light!! He has agreed to be my lover! It is a start. A good one. If I told him how I felt about him now, it might scare him off. We have only known of each other for a couple of months. With only this last month really spending time together. Living together in the same Lodge. Is that a short amount of time to fall for someone so hard?? I don't think so. I think love is a gift that should be celebrated and enjoyed. Why hold back in this world? If Robin had followed his heart and married that lass from Dale, he would be in Dale right now with a couple of wee ones instead of....where he is now.
I've been thinking of asking him to meet Mum and Rob. I'm waiting for the right time. With this Orc invasion pending and everything he has been doing to prepare. I don't think taking time off from those preparations to have dinner with my Mum would be appropriate. Maybe after all this is over? Mum will like him. I know she will. Da will hate him. Mum has always wished I would find someone here in Bree. Keeps me close. I know it hurts her to see her sons and grandchildren leave with the troupe. Only seeing them once a year, if that. She will love he is planting roots in Bree. More than that she will love him. He is more like Mum's family. Quiet farmers that keep to themselves. It isn't what Mum started out doing, but it is what she found she liked. Maybe I will like it too? Being in one place, with one man, working with him side-by-side, building a future together. That is what Mum says marriage is, but she doesn't get Da working with her side-by-side. She works it alone or, when I am home, she has me.
Her marriage was arranged by her father, like Da wants to do with me, but I keep resisting. I don't really know why. I keep telling Mum I am not ready for marriage, but I honestly don't know why I keep rejecting the men Da picks. Why I keep rejecting perfectly good proposals. Why the thought of being tethered to anyone for the rest of my life bothers me so much. I have no idea. Every man they have introduced me to has felt so wrong. This strong feeling in my gut that I should run away, quickly, always overwhelms me when Da suggests I court the lad he brought me, marry them, and have children. I want to kick them in the shins and run while they are incapacitated. I don't. Well, not with all of them. Just most of them.
Mum asked me about where I was staying and why I was so happy and smiling when I went over to pick up my training gear. She suspected something was up the moment I walked near. I didn't get a hello from her, I was greeted with, "What's their name?" Mum knows better than to ask what is HIS name. I've gone with women before. She knows I prefer both. Very accepting is Mum. She is the only one who doesn't bat an eye at my ideas of what my future should be. I think she was against Da arranging my marriage too. I told Mum all about Hound-Friend, how we met, what made me fall for him so hard, the fact that I fell for him so hard, and what I hope happens in the future. Mum was happy for me. Not happy I may be in battle soon, but happy I found someone I love. Mum is great.
Da would hate everything about Hound-Friend. Da has a vision of who I should marry. He wants me to marry some troll of a man who wants to travel and perform with the troupe for the rest of his life. Like my brothers and their wives. A family on the road. He never listens when I tell him that is not what I want. No one asks what I want in all this. What do I want?
Good question. One I am sure I will answer, some day.
I should be close to the Lodge right now. Spear training is going to be great! I can spend some time with Hound-Friend, show off my battle skills, and let the clan see I am not some useless tiny person who is only good for healing and mending things. I want to show them I can be an asset like no other. A clan member like no other, but one that will fit right in. If I join his clan, he might like me more. I might end up feeling like home to him and he will want me around more. I hope.
"Bless yer beautiful hide!! Wherever ye may be!! Pretty and trim but not too slim!! Heavenly eyes and just the right size!! Simple and sweet!! And sassy as can be!! Bless his beautiful hide!! Aye!! He's the lad for----"
And I face planted. Swung my shield a little too enthusiastically and threw my balance off and now I am face first in the grass....and everyone is watching. And Hound-Friend saw. Well great. Just great. Ok. Play this off gracefully. Fell on my face in front of Hound-Friend, Jess, some new lady I have never met....Ok so not the whole world saw, still embarassing, but it could have been worse. You could have knocked yourself out with the shield. How embarrassing would that be?! Get up, dust yourself off, and keep smiling. This is the last time today you will be eating grass. You've got this. You are a fierce, dangerous warrior!! Confidence!! Got it!
Get up! Dust yourself off! Say hello to Jess. I see that smile Jess! Cheeky. I like her. Hound-Friend is setting up targets. Maybe he didn't see me eat grass? Hope!! He is coming over here!! Oh! Look at him move. He looks like he is in a better mood today! Please let me be part of the reason you smile! He touched my hand!! Why am I wearing gloves?! Ok, those are coming off right now. He is smiling!!! Oh!! He is smiling!! Look how brightly!! Please, let him be happy!! Oh, I love that smile.
Look at Hundr!! He looks so happy. Sweet little pup! I feel your happiness Hundr!! I would be prancing around like you if I wouldn't get funny looks. You prance for me wee Hundr. Ok, time to grab a spear and get serious. The goal here is to impress Hound-Friend with your skills. Let him see you aren't only a pretty face and great body who is amazing at cooking and healing and sewing. You are fierce, dangerous!! Get them!!!
Who is joining us for today's lesson? Em, Jess, Marney, the new lass is called Marney, Ljota, and me. Good group! Girl power! Well, and Hound-Friend power. Can't forget him. Can never forget him. He looks so handsome when he smiles. Ok, got my spear and back to the group. It is going to be a good day!!
Ok! Lesson has begun! Got my spear. Watching my handsome lover instruct how to hold it. And holding it....why is this not working? My feet are planted. I am far away from the pointy end. Real far away. They do not make spears for people my height. Oh well! I shall persevere!! I can do this!! Fierce! Dangerous! One hand, then the other, far apart, below the spear tip, stay away from it, Gotcha! Keep the tip moving. I got this! I am a pro at twirling things. Just like juggling! Easy as--- OW! What the...?! How did I get hit by my own spear?! Ok, must be some weird wobble from trying to twirl the point. Ok. Just compensate for the wobble and--- OW! Son of a balding goat!!!! My nose!! Please tell me he didn't see that????
Ok, focus! Try again. Twirl that point! Watch the wobble. He is pointing at me. He is so handsome. "Best to leave foes with spears or shields to the archers..." HA! I am fierce! I knew it! Fear me!!! For I am the mighty Leohna! Defender of Beauty! Lover of Woodmen! The great and powerful--- OW!! Stupid spear!!! Ok, that one was my fault for not paying attention. I was chatting with Jess and wasn't looking at the spear tip. Focus!! Wait, what did he just say? Keep moving, keep the tip moving. Got it! Ok feisty pants! I will master you! I am a moving, fighting ball of spear lunging fury! Now twirl little tip! Twirl like you have never twirled before!! Oh! It made a circle! Did anyone see that?! I made a small circ--OW!! Come on!! Try it again! I dare you! Ok, calm down. You are yelling at a piece of wood. It wont answer you back. It isn't doing this on purpose. Just focus on the lesson and maybe you wont hit yourself again? Focus Leo!!
Small circles, small circles..Oh, come on! Just do one! I can juggle, dance, breath fire, but I can't twirl the end of stupid stick!! Come on! Just one! Twirl, twirl...GOT IT!!!! "AHA!!!" Did he see that? Did he see me make a circ----OW!! My ear!!!! Oh! Hot ear! Hot ear! Ooooo that hurt!! Ok, don't give up. Shake that one off. Do it again. Give it a little twirl and...Oh! He is looking at me!! Did he just call me sweetheart?! Worth every thwack with the spear. Every. One. He is so close!! He is touching my hands!! His are so big and calloused and feel so strong and nice and PAY ATTENTION!! This isn't cuddle time. This is spear training! Focus! You are better than this Leo.
OK, balance the spear. Start from the center. Got it. Set my feet. Closer to the spear tip. Got it. Now lunge!! OOF!! How did I end up on my bottom?!! What just happened?!! I was holding onto the spear, setting my feet, and next I know I am being tossed in the air and on my bottom!! What just happened? Is he taking my spear? No don't take it! I can get it! I can! Oh...he is cutting it down to fit me. Oh! Don;t do that! Someone made that spear. Oh, now I feel bad and not from the multiple head trauma. Ok, signals. He is talking about signals while he so deliciously chops at that spear. Look at him go! Just pulled an ax and started chopping. Just when he couldn't get any better looking...he does something so....Grrr...manly.
Focus! Signals! These could save your life Leo! Focus! One whistle for help me Two for help me with arrows. Got it. He is finished with my spear. Good. It is on now! I will own you spear! Now you are my size! Welcome to my world spear! Reset my stance. Get my hands right. Twirl..without smashing my face...and twirl!! Hey! I didn't hit myself!! I made little circles!!! I did it!!! AHA!!! Take THAT spear!!! AND HE SAW!!!! Now it is time to move! Keep him at my spear tip. Move with him. Yeah! Moving! I got this! Keep him at the spear tip...not so easy. Ok! He is going right! So Spear, go right! Why did you go left!!!!???? ARGH!!!!! You are mine spear!! By sunset this night! You WILL be under my control!! Fear me!
Ok, bracing. I can do this. Just put the spear by my foot and tilt it and use my foot to hold it there. Got it! I can do this! I can---OW!! My foot!!!! How did I nail my foot!!!!! OW OW OW OW OW!!!!! Oh! I think I sprained it! Oh, it feels sprained!!! Shake that one off. Shake it off. No pain! You've got this! Look at Jess. She knows what she is doing. Copy her. Just put the spear by my foot and---- OH WHAT NOW!!!??? How did I get tangled up in my cloak?? Maybe if I pull the spear to the left? Nope, now my legs and spear are tangled in my cloak and shield. Ok. We can fix this. Just...dont fall over. Don't fall...Don't!!!
Really? Really My Lady? This is how it is going to be? Right in front of him too? Really? Get up. Just. Get up. Take it slower he says. I was going slow! I have no idea what just happened!! Now Jess and Marney are helping me get untangled. Like I wasn't humiliated enough in front of the man I love, now I need to be helped like a toddler. I will end you spear.
Ok. Using targets. Got it. Set your feet Leo. Your spear fighting stance. Perfect! Hold your spear. YES! Now lunge at the target. Lunge! How did I miss that?! I was right on target!!??? Ok. Again! What?! Again. MISS?!! How?! What?! This thing must be on wheels or a string or something?! That's it. Eat steel dummy!!! AHA!!! Take that!! So! Not so tough now are you?! Sword is sheathed and time to attack you with a spear!! Take that Dummy!!! BY ELBERETH'S ETERNAL EFFULGENT EXPRESSION!! I hit it!!!! YES! YES! YES! I HIT IT!!! Fear me target dummy!! He said I did a good job!! AHA!! I can do anything!!!!!
Hit it from above he says? Oh, I have this!! En garde!!! OW!!!! Oh! My head!! Oh...oh that hurt. Wow. I am really bad at this. Well, if you can't be good at something...have fun being terrible at it. HAVE AT THEE KNAVE!!! AHA! Oh, wait. He is still giving instructions. Oops. Pay attention! Ok, feint, yank, and thwack. This is going to hurt. Thrust, aim, yank, and....where did my spear go? How did it land behind me??? This thing is possessed!!!! Oh! Now mister handsome spear wielding woodman is teasing....He will pay. In many delicious ways. He can start by rubbing my sore muscles after this lesson. I hurt everywhere!! It is a good thing he is cute. So cute.
And we are breathing now. Good! I can put this spear down. It is probably safer in the dummy's hands than mine right now. Oh, my poor head and bottom!! Breathing. Got it. I am a professional at breathing. Do it every day! All day in fact!! Easiest part of the lesson. A part I can do sitting down. My poor bottom! Well that was short lived. Time to grab my nemesis and start sparring. He paired me with Em. Said he would be showing favourites, because we share a bed....playing favourites. Really? He is just afraid I will land a ....wait. Did he just tell his clan we are lovers????? EEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!! I love that man!!!!!!!
Em is, a bit taller than me...6 foot compared to my 4 foot 11 inches. I can take her. I've got this!! Fierce! Dangerous!! So sore!!! Wait, what? No. Back one. Dangerous! I can do this!! And aim to the left.....Ouch. How did I end up to the right of her? I was aiming left and she never moved!!! Counter-motion! Aha! Forgot. Ok, I've got this. Get ready Em! I'm coming for you!! Aim, lunge, move with it....and I am eating grass again. How!!!??? He saw didn't he? I want to die.
Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off and try again. You've got this Leo. Courage!!! Lunge at her!!! YES! Perfect lunge!!! Did anyone see that? Did anyone see----OW!!! Oh look! Stars!!! How pretty!! My head!!! I think..I need a break. Something is in front of me. Oh, it's Em. She is all sparkly. I think I got hit harder than I thought. I keep this up and they will have to carry me inside. Come on! You can do it! I'll get it. Move with it. Balance. Keep track of the whole spear. Next time wear a helmet!! Ooo! He is talking to me! So handsome even with everything all sparkly he is still handsome. Brace...why brace? Oh!! Right!! Brace!! I just need to put my spear here and stand up and-------
Did we win?
Oh, look! Em!! Nice woman. Pretty woman. Oh, a hand. She must be offering to help me up. Ok brain. Wake up. Really focus now on her hand. There you go. Stand up. Don't pass out. Nice! I am fearsome! Mainly to myself when I wield a spear, but look out! When I get good I will be a terror with a spear!! And lesson over. Good. I don't know if I could have taken more hits to the head. He is offering me his hand to help me inside!! Awww!! So sweet is my love. Time to head upstairs with my love and have him help me put some salves on my bruises. Maybe have him rub my head?