by A. Melchor and N. Kolm
The streets of Beldatz seemed louder for
Jakitza, and she was doing her best to control herself and avoid glaring
in a very rude way to any who dared cross her path. How could they?
How could they close the school for girls? What was the governor thinking?
It was almost more than she could endure. The school had been about
her only refuge in this city and what was she to do now? She couldn't
help it, a small, angry look came to her features as she stalked through
Her robes, modest but well kept, fluttered in the wind with every resolute
step, and it seemed that her entire appearance was serving as a nice
wedge to clear a way for her. She spotted a few of the city's watch
amongst the crowd, and noticed one particular patrol with a watchman
in an officer's uniform.
She narrowed her eyes for a moment. She was on bad terms with the watch
right now since they had participated in the lockdown of school.
The patrol began to walk briskly following the officer, who was carrying
swords instead of the standard issue spear. The crowd opened up for
them and they would soon cross her path.
She moved along her way, deciding that she could do with angering the
watch a bit today. It was totally unlike her, but today she couldn't
"Clear the way! Clear the way!" One of the watchmen was shouting.
The parting crowd made it a bit more difficult to walk, but Jakitza
was thin and quite used to navigating tight spaces in her father's study,
so she had no trouble getting in the way of the advancing guards.
"What? Out of the way, girl!" The watchman now shouted directly
She looked up and gave her best angry face.
"Or what? Arrest me?" She huffed and continued walking around.
The watchman was surprised by the answer, and that prevented him from
warning the officer, who was intently reading a scroll and not looking
where he was going, which at the present was straight towards Jakitza.
She continued on her course, but she, unlike the officer was ready for
"Whoa!" The man crashed into her, sending her reeling back
and down on the ground while he only stumbled and dropped his scroll.
"Captain!" One of the watchmen cried as the others rushed
to his side.
She looked up angrily, defiantly and scrambled to her feet.
"Are you alright, miss?" The officer offered his hand.
Now that took her by surprise. The anger vanished in an instant and
suddenly she reverted to shy again. She gulped slightly and nodded,
taking the offered hand, albeit slowly. It was then that she recognized
the crest on the man's robes. He was not just an officer, he was the
commander of the Watch. If her knowledge of current affairs was up to
date, this man would be Captain Tercos Itzcori himself.
"Ah....yes....I'm...OK..." she said after a moment and gulped
"You should be more careful where you walk." He hoisted her
up. "You should be at school, by the by."
"That would be impossible, sir. The schools have been closed to
girls." Her anger flared up again for a moment, but she controlled
it this time.
"So... they got away with it." The man sighed and shook his
head. "I wish there was something I could have done, but my hands
are tied in this matter."
She looked down for a moment.
"I'm....I don't know what to do. Why are they doing this?"
"That is what I would like to know as well." He nodded and
signaled one of his subordinates, who hurried in another direction.
"I am Captain Tercos Itzcori, if there is anything I can help you
with, do not hesitate to ask; that is my duty."
"Unless you have somewhere for me to study again....I do not know
what I could ask of you, captain." She inclined her head faintly
and smiled nervously.
"My name is Jakitza Egoski.”
"Egoski... are you related to Magistrate Xilcatzin Egoski?"
He asked. Around them, the crowd had begun to disperse now that they
were sure there would be no scandal.
"Well... he is my father." she said, even more quietly now.
"Ah... I see." He nodded. "I do not think he will be
pleased to hear about these news as well. Trust me on this, Miss Egoski;
would it were in my hands to counter this decision, I would have. As
for a place to study, I'm afraid that the Watch is not a place for girls,
not that we provide much of an education either."
She nodded, looking now, not angry, but sad.
"I see. Thank you for you kind words in any case, captain."
"Run along home, now, Miss Egoski. Again, I am sorry to hear of
this." He gave a gentle pat on her shoulder and turned aside, receiving
the scroll he had been reading from one of the remaining guards.
She nodded once more and resumed her stride home, only now without
the anger fueling her steps.
"Miss Jakitza?" The house servant was very surprised to see
her when she returned to her home.
"Don't ask..." she murmured and sighed deeply, walking through
towards the next best, soft thing to sit on and threw herself down.
"Jakitza? What are you doing home?" Her mother came out from
her workroom. "Don't tell me... they... they closed school?"
"So you heard..." she said and closed her eyes in order to
stop the tears from coming. She was not a weak girl by all means, but
this was just a bit too much for her.
"Your father told me..." The woman sat down next to her daughter.
"There was a proposal floating about the court, but most magistrates
didn't take it seriously."
"Well, it is serious now. They just closed the schools for girls.
We are to...return home and learn things girls should learn."
Her mother sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "I'm sorry,
"What can I do now mother?" she said and shifted a bit to
lean against her mother.
"You can always study from your father's books." The woman
spoke softly, but Jakitza felt her stiffen briefly. "Oh, gods..."
"What?" She looked up to her mothers features and inclined
her head slightly.
There was a look of great worry and pity.
"Jakitza." She spoke softly. Jakitza recognized this tone;
it warned her to brace for a hard revelation, but her family was not
one to hide the truth, no matter how harsh. "Without your school
diploma, you won't be able to take the magistrate exams."
Jakitza stared at her mother for a second, then another and another
and then looked down gradually, her entire form shaking softly.
"This is not fair! NO FAIR!"
"I know, I know." Her mother pulled her close.
Now she did cry. All her future dreams seemed to be crashing down around
here at the moment and that can hurt a person, no matter how much they
have themselves under control.
She was held in her mother's arm until all the tears had drained away
from her eyes.
"Now, dear..." Her mother raised her head gently. "Not
everything is over... it's time to take a long, hard look at yourself
and decide what you really want to do, and why."
She gulped down the remaining tears and looked at her mother quietly.
"I...want to learn....know things...." she murmured.
"And is school the only way to do this?"
"Where else could I go....what else can I do...tell me mother?"
"I've heard that master Quitzam up in the lighthouse is a wizard.
Wizards take apprentices all the time without asking for accreditation.
You can later register as a wizard to become a magistrate later."
"B...but....I mean, do wizards take girls as apprentices? And
even so...all this magic...don't you need talent for that?"
"I really don't know." Her mother sighed, but smiled. "I
wish we could send you to another city to study, but we don't have that
Jakitza sighed deeply and looked as though she tried to compose herself.
"I....don't know what to do...."
"Well... right now I could use some help in transcribing some
documents. Your handwriting has gotten very good," The woman planted
a loving kiss on Jakitza's forehead. "Let's wait for your father
to come home."
She nodded softly and tried a feint smile before both of them stood
up and went to work. Somehow, she would manage to continue her studies.
She made that promise to herself and she never broke a promise. Her
little brother arrived at noon, his first words were of mockery to girls
who were kicked out of his school as well. One look from her eyes silenced
the mockery. She had always gotten along with her brother very well,
and he had never seen the suppressed rage that now shone in Jakitza's
eyes when he had made that comment. They boy shuffled his feet and quickly
ran to his room. Minutes later, her father arrived.
"Jakitza." He nodded sadly, acknowledging the situation.
She looked up and her eyes reflected the helplessness she felt at the
"Father...." she whispered. "It's just temporary right?.
They will open schools again soon."
"I don't know for certain." He said. "I'm sorry... I
knew about this proposal since last month, but none of us took it seriously!
I mean... I..." He sighed and shook his head. "Forgive me,
Jakitza... I had to close one of the schools myself..."
She looked for a moment as if she were ready to cry again, but then
she just shook her head sadly and looked down.
"The official reason is resource management... more money is going
to the defense of the city now that the Watch cannot cope with the attacks
in the passes. Some of us believe this proposal came from Guild influence."
"And....and....what can I do now...where can I continue my studies...?"
"I heard a rumor." He spoke low and pushed her daughter gently
towards his study. Once they were there, he took his magistrate robe
off and crossed his hands behind him. She looked to him hopefully. Maybe
there would be some possibility to continue her studying after all.
"Do you know about the Hawk Maidens?" He asked softly.
"Yes....but why do you ask?" She inclined her head softly
and nodded. She had read about this order of fighting maidens in a history
"The order... they are almost cloistered; in addition to the combat
training, the girls who join receive an education that complements the
schools' in compensation for their work for the order." Her father
was twisting his hands.
Jakitza looked at her father quietly. She wondered where this talk
"Well, but I know for certain that there is no school of Hawk Maidens
here in Beldatz." she said silently.
"Not yet." He said, his tone unreadable.
"But... are you saying... what are you saying father?" She
raised a brow and inclined her head faintly.
"It's the rumor... it cropped up a few months ago from the Imperial
tax collectors... it seems that the Empress wants a cadre of Hawk Maidens
trained here in Beldatz... she would be sending a senior member of the
order to train girls around these months."
"But....but...I mean...they are warriors.....not scholars...."
Jakitza narrowed her eyes and then looked down.
"That's right, but their basic education is the same you would
receive at school." He turned around and kneeled in front of her,
looking up with worried eyes. "I don't want to see my daughter
trained in combat... not with all the bandit attacks going on... but
it's an alternative. You are old enough to make a choice, in case the
rumor is true."
She looked at her father quietly, saw the worry in his eyes and was
about to say that she would never go somewhere where she would have
to learn how to fight. Then however, she remembered the promise she
had made to herself.
If this was the only way to continue her studying...then she knew that
she would take it.
"Remember..." He took her hands gently. "It's your life,
so it's your choice; I will be proud of you whatever your decision is."
She nodded softly and squeezed her father’s hands lightly.
"Thank you..." she said quietly.