Chapter LI

‘Well done! You’re progressed well today - I’m pleased with you. We’ll make a swordswoman of you yet!’

Beatrix glowed at Keiran’s praise. It was the first praise she’d ever taken as a real compliment. They’d practised the idea of control till the end of the day, and only stopped because of the failing light - that and empty bellies. Now they sat around the fire, spooning the usual stew into their mouths. Ale was passed around- but there Beatrix drew the line. She noticed that Keiran drank very little also - in stark contrast to Rhea, who, Beatrix was coming to discover, drank like a dry well.

Even though she was coming to understand the expectations and complexities of this strange outside world, Beatrix still felt very lost in this circle of outlaws, all drinking and cussing enough to make her hair curl, if it wasn’t curly already. All laughing and joking as one. Save her.

But this drew up the inevitable question: would she ever feel entirely comfortable anywhere? She certainly hadn’t been so at home. Or was she doomed to remain cold and stony, an outsider for the rest of her life? She was trying to have more emotion, and definitely felt less like a marble statue, but was that how people perceived her?

She sighed. These questions would remain unanswered, it seemed. And why ask questions that have no answers? The best she could hope for was news from Carla. She’d only been gone an afternoon, but already Beatrix was starting to miss her! And she would not be back for days.

Why was everything so complicated? Why couldn’t she be as happy and carefree as the other women here: Moll, Amanda, Louise - even Carla? What was it about her that made her so different? Was it just her upbringing, or was there something fundamentally different inside her?

Was there something wrong with her?

And would she ever be able to change it?

The End

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