The rain pelting her face felt like shards of ice cutting into her skin. She ground her teeth as she hefted the practice sword up once more. Her brother, seeing this, brought his own sword up. They had been sparring for four hours now. Their father stood at the edge of the practice circle, the same distant and cold look on his face. The bruises covering her body had been forgotten now, she wanted her father to look at her with approval. Again the wood clacked together strong enough to jar her hands, but this time she did not drop the sword. After weeks of practice she was able to hold the sword without letting it fall with the first blow.
Her brother nodded his head in approval, but when she looked over to where her father had been, he was gone. Her heart plunged at that. She had been working hard to learn like her brothers. Why did he not at least give her some words of hope. Hope that he at least saw the improvement, that the bruises were born with pride now, that she was trying to be what he wanted. Her brothers all clapped her on the back.
"Way to go minnow." Her brother, Thi'harg said. She smiled back at him, as her 3 other brothers said the same.
"Minnow, mother needs you to get the bread and cheese from market today." Hen'chiah said. Handing her the coins she nodded. She knew that this was to be normal for most girls her age but she also knew that the unkind words that the village would throw at her would be there. With determination she picked up the basket, put her hat on, and made to the village. The baker sneered at her.
"Took you long enough. Maybe your father should beat you harder for your insolence." Grumbling the whole way he handed her the bread and she paid for it before leaving. The baker throwing more insults after her. Next she went to the cheese maker. At least she was a bit kinder and didn't yell at the girl so bluntly.
"Here dear, the last of the sakura for the week. Tell your mother the next batch will be ready in three months." The lady handed her the cheese wrapped in the white cheese cloth and she paid the lady before she left.
She started walked back to her home, wondering how long she would have to endure the story that her family told, to keep their suspicions at bay? They only ever saw her as the most disobedient child the village had ever known. She was always covered in bruises and once or twice a broken bone. Nobody asked what happened. Her father started the stories himself though and that stung the girl just a bit.
Upon arriving at home her mother looked at her. How she wished her daughter would stop the foolishness of wanting to learn to be a warrior like her father and brothers. She feared the girl would end up maimed, or worse, Dead. Every time she tried to dissuade her daughter from her path, her daughter would be her fathers daughter, winning the ongoing argument for the time.
"Minnow, be it far from what I want from you, if you are sure that this is the path you seek, then the stories must be continued." As gentle hands put the medicine on the wounds that weeped with blood. It stung but the girls face was set with determination. She would get through this and make her father proud of her in the end. No matter what had to be done.