In this snippet from my newly released story, part of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword and Sorceress 30, the warrior Pimchan plans to leave the town she has been given and return to the wandering warrior’s life. The town objects.
You Will Not Be Left Defenseless
“Temple of Chaos” excerpt
by Marian Allen
She recognized the scornful ha from Nadia, behind her.
Pimchan said, “I’ve been here seven years. You haven’t needed me. It’s time I moved on.”
Unhappy murmurs spread through the blockage – though none from behind – and Pimchan’s peripheral vision filled with townsfolk watching the exchange.
One of the Council elbowed the head-man a bit aside and lifted her chin, glaring up at the Warrior with tear-bright eyes.
“We haven’t needed you because you were here. Before the All-Father sent you to us, we were raided often. Several times a year. We tried to defend ourselves, but the wall didn’t protect our fields. They know you can out-think them and out-fight them. Maybe out-magic them, too. They know you can put heart into us and help us plan and make ready. When you go….”
She had foreseen the possibility of this argument and was prepared.
“I intend to speak to the All-Father for you. He’ll leave one of his camp here until another Warrior can be found for the town. He won’t leave you defenseless, now that he’s put you under his protection. You know you can depend on him.”
“We depend on you.”
“Are you placing me above the All-Father?”
Denials and disavowals came thick and fast, but it was clear that every “no” meant “yes”. The All-Father was great and far away, despite the occasional appearance like today’s feast. Their personal Warrior was theirs – here, now, permanent.
“You will not be left defenseless,” Pimchan said. “You have my word.” A Warrior’s word was an unbreakable pledge, but she gave them the gift of a contract by promising twice more: “You have my word. You have my word.”
With that, they parted to let the Warriors pass, although the looks they cast from under their lowered lids were full of unwilling doubt.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character wants to leave and others want him/her to stay.