clare_dragonfly: woman with green feathery wings, text: stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories (HP: Voldemort: 100 thousand people)
[personal profile] clare_dragonfly
Title: Recruitment Day
World: The Ursulan Cycle
Word count: 577
Rating: PG
Prompt: 3WW: eradicate, mercenary, squeamish
Notes: I have now had my highest wordcount writing day that I've ever had outside of NaNo. It's probably in the top 10 ever. I swear, I was going to save this one for later... but no, it had to be written today...


“But you’re a woman,” the king said, staring at Electra in undisguised disbelief and contempt.

Electra didn’t let it bother her. She never had—and she’d had a lot of practice not letting it bother her. She straightened her shoulders (not that they needed straightening) and grinned at him. Confidence won a lot more battles than she’d expected when she was younger. “Yes, your highness, and I can wield a blade and ride a horse as well or better than any of these men, I’d wager.”

He was still skeptical. “A woman mercenary.”

She shrugged. “Not much other use for a woman who wants to wield a sword instead of staying home and spinning. The king in our land wouldn’t have any women in his army, so I went looking for work. Fought for the King of Normandy for a time.” She pushed back her sleeve to show him: she had the scars to prove it.

The king was starting to lose some of his skepticism. She could tell. But he was still frowning, the skin pinched between his grey eyebrows, and she didn’t think that was just due to the wound they all said was festering. “Don’t you have a family?”

“Yes, sir, I have a daughter back home, and with your permission I’d take her to court, but I have ladies to help care for her, and my husband was killed a few years back. The men at home won’t accept a woman as the one to collect their rents, so I have a lieutenant to do that for me.”

“Hmm.” The king twisted his mouth back and forth. He was thinking about it. “I could use a few more bodies. But don’t you women get squeamish at the sight of blood?” His eyes flicked down to the scar on her arm. “You don’t faint or anything?”

Electra tried not to laugh out loud. He was the King of Britain, after all, and it would seem awfully rude. “Your highness, women bleed every month. We’re used to it, believe me.”

The king was the one who threw back his head and laughed. “Well said! All right, Lady Electra, you’re in.”

“Sir Electra,” she corrected him.

He nodded. “Sir Electra it is. There are many threats to my throne, you know.”

“I know, your highness. Do you want them killed, or do you just need protection?”

He grimaced. “Protection for myself and my daughter. I’m afraid we have few enough strong kings in this country that I can’t afford to eradicate them.”

“I understand.” Electra looked around, but the little girl she knew existed wasn’t anywhere in evidence. Still, perhaps Princess Ursula and her own Kate could become friends. “I promise I will defend your life and your daughter’s with my own.”

“That’s all I could ask.” They shook hands and Electra stepped aside for the next contender.

She was about to go into the hall for mead when she realized that neither the king nor the next mercenary had spoken. She turned around to see them staring at each other. Finally the king burst out, “Fine! All women! If you’re a good fighter, I can’t afford to lose you.”

The woman grinned. “Thank you, your highness. I promise I will not fail you.”

Electra stepped up and put her hand out. “Pleased to meet a fellow woman mercenary.”

The other woman shook her hand. “Sir Brandigen, at your service.”

“Sir Electra. Very much at yours.”

Did you enjoy this story? You can read more stories in this world or see all my fiction posted at Dreamwidth!

Aww...

Date: 2014-08-14 09:40 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I love this!

>> But don’t you women get squeamish at the sight of blood?” <<

"I'm a girl. A bleeding pussy doesn't faze me." Wow, he walked right into that one.

>> Do you want them killed, or do you just need protection?” <<

ZOT!

>> Electra stepped up and put her hand out. “Pleased to meet a fellow woman mercenary.” <<

*glee*

Date: 2014-08-14 10:37 am (UTC)
aldersprig: A Roman Gladius, with the words "Keep Sharp, Live Long" against a leather background. (Sharp)
From: [personal profile] aldersprig
Love it!

Date: 2014-08-14 05:24 pm (UTC)
aldersprig: (goatie goat)
From: [personal profile] aldersprig
I should go digging!

Date: 2014-08-16 07:41 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Zing! At least the king had the good sense to laugh when he's been had.... :)

And the bit about did he want them killed, or just protection, reminded me a lot of Honor Harrington before the Steadholders in Flag in Exile... *feral grin*

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