To The Sea

And the day came when at last she took to the sea.

She stood in the prow, spray in her face, hair streaming out behind her, a proud warrior filled with purpose and strength. Behind her, the fortress lay wasted, men lying on the sand, calling and crying for her to come back, to turn, to acknowledge them in some way.

“We did this for you!” they cried. “We are broken here because of you!”

But she would not turn. She faced the wild unknown, the open ocean, dreams ahead of her and nightmares behind.

She would not go back to that land, where she was expected to stay in her tower, to stay pure and perfect and never age, never fail, never cease to do the things asked of her. She would find a new land.

She had heard stories ever since she was a child, stories of a land where a woman could be free. The stories were myth, untrue, only told under cover of darkness to women and children. Only told to the weak.

But the stories gave her strength. They brought a fierce light to her eyes and a new vigour to her muscles as she laid her plans.

They laughed long after she was gone. She was held up as an example. Her fate was that of one who heard fairy stories and believed them. She was a freak, a Jezebel, a betrayer.

Those she left behind never heard from her again. No one learned whether or not she found the mystical land of freedom, or whether she drowned alone at sea, her hair tangling in the seaweed and her body becoming food for carnivorous sea-beings.

But the young girls of the land she had left told new stories. They told stories of the woman who had single-handedly torn down her pedestal, her tower, her prison. How she left men bleeding and calling for her. How she revealed that there were deep cracks in the way they understood the world. In some stories, her ship was torn apart by storm and she was transformed into a mermaid, a symbol of the freedom that comes in death. In others, she survived, she found the new world, and she lives there still as an equal to all.

 

The Thing About Fantasy Worlds Part 2

part one 

Hi! You came back! I wasn’t sure I would see you again. You looked pretty green after that idiot tried to get his sword back last time and I was forced to hack him to bits. Good thing this sword is so sharp or he wouldn’t have died so quickly. Anyway, I’m glad to see you. It’s nice to have someone normal to talk to, you know? I’m afraid I don’t have long today though. I’ve been invited to a banquet tonight at the castle of the evil wizard nearby. Oh, don’t worry. I know it’s a trap. But he’s been pissing me off lately. At first it was lots of little things, like changing the forest so I’d get lost, or casting spells to make ordinary mushrooms poisonous, stuff like that. I didn’t eat the mushrooms – even I know that mushrooms shouldn’t be giving off sparks. But then the asshole tried to cast a spell on me. I have no idea what it was meant to do. It didn’t take, thank goodness. It wasn’t strong enough. It only took my clothes. Which, let me tell you, was bad enough! It is no picnic to walk around a forest naked, you know. Although I have to say that the whole Renaissance Faire getup I ended up with is actually a lot more comfortable than my jeans. I guess they know something about functional fashion that I didn’t.

Oh hang on, mail’s here.

<loud flapping and a strong gust of wind as a maelstrom of wings swoops through, leaving one fluttering letter behind>

I want to go to this banquet tonight because I want to see what I’m up against. I’m not planning to take on the wizard or anything, just get a feel for him, see how arrogant he is, you know. I won’t eat anything, and in case I’m forced to, I got this antidote thing. It’s called a bezoar. I’m glad I read Harry Potter as a kid so I knew what to get. And you do not want to know how I got it – they don’t use money here so I had to resort to… well, never mind. It was awkward.

<ziiiiiing thwap>

Ugh, that was terrible. I’m useless at archery. It’s really hard to hit a stationary target, much less something moving erratically. But I’m sick of rabbits and shitty oatmeal. Whatever. Everything here is so stupid and hard.

<throws bow and arrow into a bush>

I guess I should read my letter. Oh, excellent! My application has finally been accepted to fight in the tournament. They think I’m a dude, of course. I think I mentioned that I have some serious issues with their attitude towards women here – I will get to that rant one of these days, I promise. Anyway, I did a bit of digging around when I was in town for the bezoar. Turns out that the misogyny goes deeper than I thought. They have a habit of sucking young women like me over here to basically be virgin sacrifices.

<snorts derisively>

They’re not too picky about actual virginity; it’s mostly the look of the thing – and they got more than they bargained for with me. The top brass is actually paying off this wizard to take me out, because they’re worried that since I slipped through their net I’m going to wreak havoc on their whole shady system. Well, they’re dead right. I plan to tear them to shreds. So if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to change into this dress I stole when I got the tunic getup and go do some recon.

<she strips, revealing a nasty scar across her chest>

Thanks for the chat! It’s nice to get a touch of normalcy. Stop by again sometime.

 

The Thing About Fantasy Worlds Part 1

The thing about being transplanted into a fantastical world filled with magic and mystical creatures and shit is that there’s no convenience here. Like, there are no words for how much I wish I could charge my phone, and for it to say something other than NO SERVICE once it turned on. And a Starbucks! I would kill a unicorn and drink its blood for a grande quad ristretto half-sweet hazelnut latte.

Hang on, orcs. Back in a sec.

<sounds of slaughtering>

Ok, so where was I? Convenience. Right. So there’s just nothing easy here, you know? I can’t even make oatmeal properly. It’s all gather grains, boil them ALL DAY, find a fucking beehive, get thirty stings trying to get enough honey to sweeten my chewy, unsalted because where the hell would I find salt, disgusting oatmeal, then eat it. With what? A leaf? My hands? Also, there’s nothing here that I would attempt to milk, so there’s nothing besides that honey of pain to put on it. Gross. And then it’s bedtime and I’ve wasted the entire day trying to make breakfast. No wonder the elves make that shitty waybread.

<unsuspecting rabbit has its neck wrung>

Good, that’s supper sorted.

Sometimes I have nightmares that I’m in a Burger King drive-thru and I don’t have any money and the only thing they’re willing to barter with is my sword. And sane me, sleeping me, knows that it doesn’t matter, that I don’t need a sword in the real world and I can just hand it over and everything will be fine. But me in the dream has a screaming meltdown, because this sword is literally the only thing I have of value, and by value I mean use, in this place. Apparently it was someone’s great-great-great-grandfather’s, but he was deep into the wine casks and didn’t seem to mind loaning it to me. I only found out it was an heirloom later, and I felt a little bit bad, because I had my grandma’s decorative plate collection back home and it was special, you know? But I’m sure it’s fine. He’s definitely over it by now. And it’s dead useful, since no one notices me or respects me until I whip this baby out. Then it’s all what can we do for you, OMG, do you know what that is, etc etc, and then I show them that yes, I do know it’s a sword, and what’s that you say? This end is sharp? Let me test it. Whoops, that was an accident. And now I’m going to take all your meat pies and bugger off. It’s totally brilliant.

Oh, hang on, someone’s coming. Oh look! Speak of the devil; it’s the sword guy. He seems pissed. Maybe he’s not actually over it yet. Well, it’s been nice chatting, but it looks like the rest of my day just filled up. Come back next week. I have a whole rant built up about the misogyny in this place. It’s unreal!

<violent clashing>