I’ve been reading MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY’S SWORD AND SORCERESS 30, an anthology of fantasy featuring … well … swords and sorceresses, or at least some form of weaponry and some form of magic, with a strong female being a pivotal character.
I have a story in this one, “Temple of Chaos,” about the warrior Pimchan and her two slaves. Pimchan and her Male and her Female appeared in S&S 23, which was (counts on fingers) seven years ago. Since then, they’ve all aged seven years, the slaves have been freed and named, and Pimchan is hoping to get back to warrioring.
To Fight Or Not To Fight
excerpt from “Temple of Chaos”
by Marian Allen
Pimchan and Nandan led their contingent (which shrank as some of the zealots melted away to join their families huddled behind barred door-screens) to the headquarters of the town guard.
There, they found the peacekeepers with the doors and windows open, seated around tables, drinking strong coffee and playing Sticks Against Stones.
She told herself that they, also, had no knowledge of the true situation. Still, even leaving the All-Father out of it, such poltroonery ill-suited the men and women she had helped train.
“Is this how you defend your people?”
The Guard’s chief scowled up at her from under black brows.
“Yes. With our protector gone, we couldn’t hope to outface or outfight these people. Our only hope is to let them have your compound and hope they make Mountain Cloud their base. If they claim us as their own, they may take good care of us. What would you have us do? Resist, and see our children slaughtered?”
“You see me here,” said Pimchan, “and my trainee with me. The All-Father is sending some of his guards to help us. Your townsfolk have followed us to your defense. Will you sit and play while others do battle?”
The guard chief rose, pale, and gripped the pommel of his sword.
“I’ll kill the first who moves against the raiders. Either we give them the town with ease or they take it with blood.”
“The All-Father –”
“The All-Father gave us to you! We’re yours or we’re theirs! We’ll follow you or we’ll bow to them!”
Mumbles and growls from all around her told Pimchan that everyone – even those who had followed her from the Temple – agreed with him.
Meanwhile, their benefactor was in the hands of outlaws.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character has to decide whether or not to fight.