Standing before a warrior twice her size, she does what she always does...wait. It is what the cunning fox does. Wait. For your enemy to move.
She's a half blood among the Txoria. Tall, dark of skin, but her hazel eyes give her away. Her height has afforded her the opportunity to change her fate.
Suddenly, the warrior springs at her. Curved sword glinting in the afternoon light and Darci twists away at the last second. Her own sword dancing off his with quick speed.
They ring sharply together, jarring down her arm. A spin and she dances away from his strike again.
Her blade sneaks through his slow defense, but the blunt end of his hilt smacks her ribs hard. She feels them crack painfully as she gasps against the stars that spray across her vision.
She staggers, and he moves forward in her weakness. She darts away again despite the pain. Having felt the hard hits of the warriors before, they are nothing new.
Her body is marred by scars and bruises of past training sessions. Of men who don't feel a woman should be a warrior, but Darci isn't about to give up. It isn't in her nature.
No. She stands up defiantly and this time she's the one who moves forward offensively. Ignoring the pain in her ribs as she strikes hard and fast. The warrior stumbles backward off guard.
It is not something she does normally, but she is tired of running.
Her own strength surprises her when she strikes his blade away. Yes, she is tired of defense. She is tired of feeling weak or running. She will find a way. She will make a new path in her tribe.
She will be a warrior.
His blade clatters to the ground in a beautiful butterfly sweep that leaves him defensiveness. She presses her blade to his throat and gives him a wicked smile he can't see under her veil.
He bows his head in acquiesce. She has beaten a full warrior of the tribe.
Sliding the sword in her scabbard, she feels as if someone is looking down at her.
Gazing upward along the slopes of the cliffs that surround her home valley in the desert, she sees her half sister, training to be a Grand Historian Bard.
She is small and quickly she moves away to the shadow.
No, Darci will not be like her, she decides fiercely. She will not resign herself to living in Shadow.