Ohne took the vow when she was fifteen. She'd never know the touch of a man, and in return, would receive the honour of living like one. The choice was easy to make, but to every oath its burden. The life of a sworn virgin is a lonely one.
“You’re seventeen already.”
“I know.” Ohne sighed.
She kept her head down, focused on the thread she tied around her wrist to keep her woollen glove in place.
“You’ve got to prove yourself,” her sister insisted.
Hilda had brighter hair than her, and was much fairer according to most men, not that it mattered anymore. Ohne had stopped wearing dresses long ago.
“Men do not get to stay home, Ohne. They’ve got responsibilities.”
“I’ve got a job, you know?” she retorted.
“You keep sheep. That’s a boy’s duty, not a man’s.”
But I’m not a man, Ohne thought. Her family kept referring to her as being male, now, between shame and pride as she didn’t have any brothers. She took a deep breath. It could be worse; they could be planning my wedding.
“It’s not like anyone is rushing to give me anything better to do. They don’t trust me,” Ohne groaned.
“What are you doing about it?” Hilda crossed her arms.
“You’ve got a point.” She eventually bit on the thread and pulled with her teeth, in order to fasten the knot properly. “The villages are keeping calm, this time of year, but I could probably kill a hunter or two.”
“Don’t joke about war!” Hilda looked away, across the mountain tops. There was little to share, here, much to fight for. Nobody cared for the area, but the villages.
“Dad can’t stop reminiscing his great days of adventure as a man-at-arms. He won’t shut up about the valour of the sword and the strength of the shield.” Ohne mimicked a warrior brandishing his blade. “He’d be so proud of me, his man-daughter!”
“You want to be hurt and limp to the well each morning? Unlike him, you won’t have a wife to fetch your water.”
“Only cowards escape the sour nip of steel,” she quoted their father in a deep voice.
“I told you to stop joking about it!” Hilda jumped to her feet. “You can’t afford to be a child anymore, Ohne. People will grow tired of it.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t want to annoy our lovely citizens, my fair Lady.”