The Trials of Yuki Hinuema
I am an Hinuema woman. I bring misery to all men. There was only one man I did not bring misery to. They call him my first husband. He was the ogre who kidnapped me. To him I brought no misery. To him I brought death.
I was not always an obedient girl, but when my father smiled, I knew that Heaven was in Harmony with Earth. I used to tend the garden, and he would smell the flowers after coming home from the magistrate’s house while my mother and I made dinner. I did not understand about station, so I did not know how much my father protected me from talk. Then the ogre came.
He must have been spying on me. He might have been watching me in the garden for days. He charged through the bushes and hurdled over the garden wall, knocking down come of it. He knocked over statues and carried me back to his cave.
He tied me to the foot of his bed, then paced the room, wondering what to do with me. Then he started busying himself in the kitchen. I convinced him to let me cook for him while he sat down to relax. I put poppy seeds in his stew, and served him his strongest drink. He was barely able to get out of his chair when he was finished, but I was able to help him to bed.
I knew I was free, but I was afraid he would come for me if I just went home. I found his sword and slew him with it. It was very big and difficult to use. I cut off his head, and took it home with me. I was covered with blood.
The neighbor was comforting my mother when I came home with the monster’s head. She looked me up and down with a wry smile and said, “Such blood the first time." I didn’t understand what she meant.
There were more jokes I did not understand, but what I started to understand is that the walls of my father’s garden would no longer protect me. And I could no longer bring flowers into his life. When I made up my mind to run away from home, the village, and the teasing boys, my bags had already been packed for me. There was a map to a monastery that owed a favor to my father, where I would train to survive my new life. I have returned my father's name to him, and perhaps my stain on it will wash away. Now my name is Hinuema. My Dowry is my sword, and I bring misery to all men. Perhaps it is better if these people do put me to death as the Sun rises.
from Olga Blakovitch from the Frontier
We were still smarting from our pyrrhic victory over dinosaur, when local savages emerge out of brush. They were smart: they hid and let us handle monsters. We did not quibble. They were reason we come here, to get permission for base camp for further missions into Worldwound. They want to help us butcher dinosaur and collect eggs, so we get to work. We not speak their primitive language, but we get along okay. We are all bloody and attracting flies by time we are done, heavy with fresh-killed meat, we go to their cave. One of us does have some magic for talking with them, but we use sparingly, over dinner, dinosaur meat with eggs on side. Talk is going well. We were given valuable trade goods, and they like. But someone accuse of us using magic. Barbarians all stop drinking, give us hairy eyeball and slide chairs away. It is too much.
“Is this the way Mammoth Riders treat guests?” I stand up and pound fist on table. “Accuse of us witchcraft and put out your fires? I know how to handle rude people who insult me, and it is not with magic!” As I talk, I remove my weapons and put them on table. I strip off my armor and most of my clothes. I am staring at War Chief, an incredibly beautiful woman with dinosaur tooth necklace. I think her name is Sortia. She turns up a half smile and stands up, too. Somebody stokes up the fire, and people make ring around us. Some people are staring at me, too. I think they like tattoos. My shaman used to say he like tattoos because it hides bruises.
Sortia and I circle each other a little, but I get impatient. I punch her in face, then shoot in, grab her over one shoulder and between legs and body slam her on stone floor. I back away, because we are fighting fair, here. I was worried she wouldn’t get up, but she is made of stern stuff. She lunges at me, tackles me to floor, banging my head against table. She kneels over me, punching me in face. I get my legs around her and reverse so she is under me now. Everyone in cave is screaming. But my shaman not only taught me when to duck. He also taught me when not to.
Sortia bridges her body and sends me off of her. I fly off, landing on my feet in a pretty acrobatic roll if I say so myself. I am on my feet, charging at her with fist cocked. She is ready for me and kicks me square in the chin. I go down and decide to stay there. The whole cave is exploding with cheers as they see their war chief take me down. She swaggers around the room, waving her hands, getting the crowd to cheer more. Then she calms down and calms room down with her. This woman knows how to lead.
She says, “These warriors from the city know how to fight, but they really need our help sending these demons back to the hell they came from.” She spits on the ground—not on me, good sign—then helps me onto my feet, hugging me. Everyone cheers again. We forge alliance in blood, sweat and treasure, the way good alliances are forged. Sortia and I talk politics late into night before I have to set off in morning.