Chronicles of Tellus
Finlay "Finn" Deòir
Finlay, or Finn, as she prefers, was born to war, as all Nazcaans are. Her father, a stern man of few words, and fewer emotions, had been a General in the Nazcaan army. The day he discovered that Finn’s mother was with child, he immediately began preparing for a son to arrive. Much to his dismay, Finn arrived, pink and crying, and unfortunately, female. Finn was not the only person in Nazca to suffer the same fate of being born mistakenly female. Every day girls were born, and stern, emotionless, military fathers were disappointed. For five years, Finn was an only child, well loved by her mother, tolerated by her father, and always getting into trouble. Then one day, a bouncing baby boy arrived. It was the first time she’d seen her father smile. He practically glowed with pride, one of his 3 emotions… the other two being resentment and disinterest. From that day forward, Finn was determined to see her father feel that pride for her.
All Nazcaan children are trained in the art of fighting from practically the moment they walk. Finn never missed a day of training. Her evenings were spent sparring with friends or practicing on her own. She was a master with an axe. No one in her age group could beat her. But proficiency with an axe is not what Nazcaans pride themselves on. Sword and shield is the epitome of combat prowess in Nazca. Thus, despite frequent high marks from her trainers and victory in several tournaments, her father never once congratulated her on her achievements. Time saw her younger brother, Manus, develop into exactly what her father had desired. Ever the golden child, Manus excelled in training as Finn had done, only he was the pride of Nazca, the best sword and shield fighter of his age.
Manus became of age at 16 and was quickly promoted to an officer in the Nazcaan army, while Finn, 21, remained at home, unable to secure a position. Though no one said directly, it had been implied that Finn’s father, as a General, had repeatedly blocked any and all of her attempts to enlist. Finn knew her father’s opinion of a woman’s place, that she is a more valuable asset as a bride than a warrior. Though the odds seems stacked against her, Finn persevered, attempting to enlist at every opportunity.
Despite the potential for animosity, that would not have been unfounded, Manus and Finn remained close. Finn was protective of her younger brother, and Manus always trusted Finn’s advice. They often enjoyed spending long afternoons riding their mounts, hunting elk and other large game. One evening, after returning from a relatively successful hunt, the pair returned to their parents’ home in good spirits, jesting with one another. However, as they entered their family home, Finn’s mood immediately soured. She found her father shaking hands with a colleague, the man’s 21 year old son sitting nervously beside them. No words needed to be said, she knew her father had just signed her life away. Finn, ever conscious of keeping up appearances had learned to suppress her emotions, even though her fiery nature often made her feel as though she were attempting to contain a tempest in a jar. Finn smiled sweetly, saying nothing, and excused herself to her room. Manus awkwardly exited the room as well, following Finn up the stairs. There, despite her brother’s hushed protests, Finn packed up her belongings as quietly as she could. Manus knew she was upset, she had every right to be. He pleaded with her, promising to talk some sense into their father. But Finn knew that man could not be swayed. She had learned a long time ago not to protest her father’s commands. Once he made a decision it was final, he would not hesitate to use violence to emphasize his point.
The family sat silently through evening supper. Finn’s mother occasionally attempted to open up the conversation to innocent, mundane topics, such as the weather. But Finn’s father quickly put a stop to that with harsh grunt. “So this is how it will be,” she thought, “my last night with my family… I don’t know what I had expected.” While her mother had always nurtured her and her brother had always been a confidant, this was all overshadowed by the looming menace of her father’s short temper and general disregard for Finn. When her parents turned in for the night, Finn crept about the house. She gathered some supplies from the cellar, quietly tacked up her mare, and stole off into the night. She would never let her father control her fate. She would not be sold to another man as though she were livestock. She was a warrior. She would be a hero. She would make her father proud someday, but it would not be as another man’s wife.