The Lady of Bow and Blade
I cannot take it anymore, every groping hand,
Crude whispers and whistles while I move about the Inn.
I stumble for the door and on the porch I stop
Choking on a sob, I give in to my tears.
A shuffle in the dark, and I linger in alarm.
A whiff of pipe smoke and a glow from within the shadows,
Wise eyes watching me as I back away,
“Hold girl,” he tells me gently. “What fears you so?”
I wait for the scolding, the heavy fist to fly.
It does not fall and I begin to speak;
“I cannot take it anymore,” I gasp. “I am so ashamed.”
The puff of smoke rose again and those eyes turned grim.
“Have you no place else?” his voice was rough yet soft.
“No, my Lord, I have none.” I begin to tremble anew
As foul words are heard over the drunken sounds of men
The stranger cast a glance toward the Inn, his shadowed eyes afire.
“You should leave this place girl, be harassed here no more.”
“I have nothing but a bow and blade, Lord. What of that am I to make?”
His eyes flared in the pipe glow and his eyebrows rose again,
“Of bow and blade I know a bit, girl, are you skilled so?”
I turned and pulled from a shadowed corner a bundle,
Atop it sat my humble bow, its arrows few but strong.
“Here my Lord, ‘tis all my goods. Skilled that I am.”
I slip my paltry dagger free and hold it steadily.
“I have no one else to feed me, no kin to claim.”
I watch the stranger study me, his eyes deep in thought.
At last he put down his pipe and a puff of last smoke blown,
He turned and lifted his own bow, elegant and true,
A quiver full of mighty arrows rested there too.
These he held out toward me with an earnest aire.
“No, Lord, these are your own! I cannot take your bow!”
I pulled away but his eyes had a glint of strength.
“Take them girl, go find your world, be free of such filth.”
He offered them to me again, and I reached with a hesitant hand,
“How can I repay you Lord, for such a costly gift?”
I choked on a sob again, this time from joy and love.
“Repay by becoming no longer a hounded girl, but a hunter strong and true.”
He spoke softly and began to back away
And vanished into the shadows, no longer to be seen.
I watched him go as if in shock, surely it was a dream,
But for the bow and blade I clutched so preciously.
At last I pulled my cap from my hair and let my locks go free.
I flung away my apron, and shouldered bow and arrow.
The blade of fine steel graced my waist as I turned and
To the night I fled, finally at peace, my world at last whole
As the hunted becomes the Hunter, the
Lady of Bow and Blade.