(121-03-15) To Fight Like a Woman
To Fight Like a Woman
Summary: Hellan and Genevra have a very intense mother-daughter discussion on what it is to be a lady, and what it is to be a warrior.
Date: Date of play (15-16/03/2014)
Related: Nightmares, Witches, Little Girls, Little Pup - Big Market

Sailmaker's Manse

This modest stone manse is well appointed, with three levels, each about thirty feet square.

The lowest includes a main hall with a massive stone fireplace, and an exit into the stable. There are no windows facing the wynd, but an arched door and wide windows give a view of a walled garden in the back. The back garden wall is the wall of a house the next alley over, and its windows and those of the surrounding residences might offer a view of the garden, but no access.

The floors above house several chambers of varying sizes, a few with fireplaces joining the single big chimney.

By the time Lady Hellan and Genevra returned to Lady Mormont's manse, their present home, Hellan had summoned enough wherewithal to retrieve her stern anger over her daughter's behaviour. She said as much; that they would have words. That Genevra needed a lesson. By the time they were a few feet in the door, Hellan said she was tired. She went to her room, as she does, and locked herself in its dark walls for hours.

Downstairs, the fire burns heartily in the hearth. The table has seen supper come and go, absent Hellan. Yet she sits at it now, alone, while the quiet sounds of the manse go on around her. The very world goes on around her. Her head is laid down to one side upon the strong wood of the table; it can't be comfortable, yet there it lies between the crooks of her arms. She barely seems to breathe. A candle stands near her, once meant to illuminate the breadth of paper she has spread out under her arms. The candle is unlit; the paper is blank. The wine goblet— that has been better-used. It's nearly empty.

The warm light of the fire catches on a sheen of metal, now and then; something else tucked under the dead weight of Hellan's arms, resting beneath an elbow. It's sharp edge of some manner of deadly weapon.

Genevra creeps down the staircase quickly but as silently as she can. The young girl makes for the door but pauses when she sees her mother at the table in that state. The glint of the weapon draws her closer to investigate and her head tilts as she frowns slightly. She doesn't make a sound just watches her mother thoughtfully with an almost regretful expression and shakes her head. She had not had any supper yet having snuck out of her room widow and gone off to practice her weaponry some more. She returned through the same window and now she is hungry. Giving her mother one last cautious look she tiptoes for the kitchen in search of a late supper.

It's hard to say what wakes up her mother. Could it possibly be Genevra's quiet footsteps? Perhaps the sense of being watched, earlier? Happenstance? Hellan makes a low noise in her throat, deep and muffled, before any part of her stirs. Her head lifts heavily barely an inch off the table — enough only to turn her head the way of Genevra's sneaking, her hair dragging across her arms and the table. Her half-open eyes seem bleary, unseeing; underneath is slightly hollowed, the sockets full of an exhaustion not befitting the day's minor excurcsion. "Come here," she demands blurrily as if out of a dream.

Genevra freezes at the voice of her mother calling her. Slowly she turns to face the woman lingering a moment before she moves but she knows that you can't run from every problem sometimes it just makes matters worse. So with her head held high and proud she makes her way over to her mother standing just out of reach and rasing a brow in question. "Yes?" She asks softly and though her tone is calm there is a hint of apprehension there as well. "Are you going to lecture or punish me then? If so just go on and get it over with." She seems resigned to her fate but the firm set of her jaw shows she isn't sorry at all for her actions earlier.

Hellan takes in Genevra's response with the kind of bobbing, intensely difficult focus someone might experience when trying to hear through a raging hailstorm, her head still nearly grazing the table. She presses her palms into the wood — and part, upon the handle of that weapon — but lays head right back down. Her eyelids even appear heavy, darkened by tire and glossed with unwellness. She might fall right back into whatever state of unconsciousness gripped her before she brought the quill and unopened ink on the table to paper and leave Genevra off the hook.

But no; a rush of willpower forces the woman to slowly sit up before her eyes re-open, the strength of the effort running through tense, strong tendons in her hands. The weapon she laid upon turns out to be a sturdy, well-made battle-axe. Her voice even deeper than usual as she forces consciousness. "There are things you do not understand."

Genevra eyes the axe curiously and then looks to her mother with a slight frown and a raised brow. "And these things are?" She remains rooted in place just out of Hellan's reach watching her cautiously and keeping one eye on the axe as well her curiousity growing as she studies it. "That would be heavy..hard to lift too. But still deadly." She looks impressed by this fact rather than afraid and smiles faintly before she looks back to her mother and the smile fades into a careful expression. "So what is it I don't understand? Maybe if you told me why me learning to fight bothers you so much we could come to an understanding?"

"It," Hellan begins before staring with narrowed, hazy eyes past — or through — Genevra for a long moment before seeming to remember she was in the middle of an important sentence. She lifts a hand from the blade of the axe to press fingers past one eye. Bit by bit, she gains her senses; they sharpen with almost a dangerous speed. "It is why you fight. And it how you fight and for whom. Do you realize," suddenly the woman is on her feet with a screech of the chair and standing tall. She sways when she stands, but grabbing the hearty weight of the weapon the table seems to spur her muscles to steady her. She lifts the battle-axe without any sign of effort, shoving it toward Genevra just shy of danger, her expression intensifying into a silent snarl. " — where you come from?"

Genevra takes a quick step back as the axe is lifted. Her eyes widen in awe and a hint of worry as she studies her mother. She does hear what is said though and she tilts her head considering. "What are you saying? That I should fight for my family? A family that doesn't want me to touch a blade in the first place?" She frowns heavily but seems to be thinking over and considering Hellan's words all the same.

Hellan stares intently at her daughter beneath her severely downturned brows. Her jaw moves from side to side and her head then follows suit. "You have Mormont blood running through your veins," she states importantly, her voice growing stronger, stronger. The axe is unwavering. Her knuckles are white. Muscle is tensed into definition even under the thick fabric of her sleeves. "But you were born in the safety of Winterfell, where taking up arms was not a necessary to survive. You do not know what battle is, child."

Genevra meets that stare defiantly and with determination. "No i don't know what battle is but I will find out no matter what it takes. I want to be able to defend myself and to proect those I care about and to fight for what is right. I don't want to sit in some castle wasting away, having children and regreting it, dreaming of what I could have been and wishing I had followed my dreams and desires. Fighting, battle, challenges, adventure…those are my greatest desires mother….would you forbid them just becuase they are dangerous? I know they are dangerous and yet I still feel called into that danger." She speaks with conviction and determination doing her best to make her point clear. She is being honest and the fire in her eyes proves that this is what she truly wants.

"Do you think I have stopped you because I don't understand?" Hellan counters immediately, bearing in. The conviction and fire in their eyes are kin, but hers holds the depth of wisdom and experience. Her eyes are lighter in their shade of grey, yet hold more darkness. "There are two things you must understand," she says in a rush, swinging the heavy weapon in her hand vertically with practiced skill so that the blunt end is suddenly pointing toward Genevra. She looms in, stepping forward seemingly without any plan to stop. "About being a lady, and being a warrior." If this is one of Hellan's lessons, it is a rare, passionate one.

"Then why have you stopped me?" Genevra counters her dark grey eyes ablaze. She may be more innocent than her mother but she is stubborn and passionate about getting what she wants and she really wants to fight. She doesn't want to be sheltered and babied like she doesn't and never will understand. She holds her groud watching her mother with narrowed eyes. "And what are these two things that I must understand? How does being a lady relate to being a warrior? They are completely different things as far as I know."

One. "The definition of a lady is not wearing a dress, being locked away in a castle or keep, acting coy and doing as men say. As a lady, you have strong, noble blood." Hellan keeps moving toward Genevra; the end of the axe seeks to press into her chest, or spur her to walk backward, one way or the other. "You have a duty to your family to be loyal and to do what is best — for the good of your family. If that means getting married to a man of another House and having children, it is a shit circumstance but so be it. You don't want to be a lady, and why is that? Because you do not fit the mould and it is hard. But it takes the strength of a warrior to commit the selfless acts ladies must undertake whether we want to or not."

"But I don't want to be a lady! I would rather cut my hair off and pretend to be a man! I care about my family yes but surely women can do more for thier familes than get married and have kids?! Surely they can do just as much just as well as any man?" Genevra is impassioned as she speaks and she doesn't back down or wince as the end of the axe presses into her. She glares defiantly at her mother. "Being a lady may take just as much strength but I don't want to be a lady. I want to be a warrior. For myself and for my family."

The butt of the axe lifts to Genevra's chin, settling under it. Her mother leans to stare evenly into her eyes. "We are as good as any men. Better," she agrees absolutely, saying so just as impassionedly as all the rest. "Let me finish." Two. "There is glory in being a warrior. Pride. Excitement. Honour. But dash thoughts of adventure from your mind now. Adventure is a bedtime-story word and I will not have you think being a warrior is a gleaming thing. A warrior does not only defend, they kill. Wherever the battlefield, be it against two knights or fifty dishonourable men, true battle is death." Hellan's gaze intensifies all the more to think on this; raging warrior's eyes mid-battle, yet it's not a fight she seeks with her daughter, but truth. So close, her eyes reveal themselves as bloodshot, and alcohol lingers faintly on her but clearly does not fog her mind. "It is severed limbs, guts spilling onto the ground. It is blood and shit and rape. You did not grow up with it. You need to know the weight of it."

There is no fear in Genevra's eyes even at those words that are spoken so harshly. She nods slowly letting the butt of the axe dig into her chin without protest. "I think I understand….you want me to know what I am getting into…but I still want to fight. Nothing will frighten me away from that. I will become a warrior with all the blood, suffering and pain it brings. Becuase I think it is worth it and I want to do it." Her jaw is set stubbornly as she speaks her mind remains unchanged.

The end of the axe moves from Genevra with a quick move from her mother's arm while Hellan otherwise does not move an inch. She stares into her daughter's eyes for a long moment, studying the way she does not back down, assessing her with razor-sharp precision. Something starts to change in her eyes, some stir of undefined emotion—

She takes a sharp step back.

"There is no denying you are a warrior."

This admission has Genevra's eyes widening in pleased surprise. She smiles faintly and inclines her head. "Thank you mother…Will you let me train then? To fight, to be a true warrior? I think I can convice Ser Teryin to teach me. He fights with blades that are shorter than normal swords but longer than daggers and that style seems to suit me best I think. Quick, agile but deadly fighting. Will you allow it? Please?" She looks at her mother with determination but her tone is softer now and there is a slowly building respect and understanding there that wasn't present before.

Even Hellan, though she may not earn any accolades for her skills as a parent, is capable of the look that says a 'but' is coming. It builds and builds until, tipping her head down but keeping her eyes up on Genevra, she voices, "If you are to take up arms, it will be the way of the Mormont women of your family have done for centuries. We are both ladies and warriors. I don't want you seeing that Teryin."

Genevra's eyes widen bit looking amused at her mothers words about Teryin. She lowers her eyes a moment a faint smile on her lips. "So thats why you don't like him. You think I like him like that. I don't. I see him as interesting and a possible teacher and a possible friend but nothing else. Besides he said he had a wife…the words in the sqaure where just teasing on my part. I'm not interested in him like that." She looks up and her eyes show her honesty amusment and a hint of shock that her mother would even think such things. "Still if you wish me to train like a Mormont then that is what I shall do." The dermination is bright in her eyes. "Still I don't think I can lift that axe let alone swing it yet." She looks at the axe and then back to her mother with amusment.

Hellan shakes her head dismissively, shifting from her strong stance to wander off to the left in the general direction of a chair. "No, the fact is that you don't know him at all, and he ought to have more productive things to do with his time than train a strange girl he's wandered past. "You're under the roof of Lady Mormont now," she says — above a fine, quietly implied line of not your father's — and feels out the arm of a chair before leaning against it to face Genevra once more. She doesn't quite look at the child, unfocused somewhere between her axe and the floor, but her words are more directed.

"You need not go looking for fine warriors elsewhere when you are in the company of," Hellan hesitates a moment, "Maera. Have I told you that the sword she carries is Longclaw, a blade of Valyrian steel that has been with the Mormonts for hundreds of years? If you are to learn to fight, it will be through she or I, one of her trusted men, or someone I've at least … had the opportunity to approve."

Genevra seems to consider her mothers words and nods slowly. "So you will approve of someone teaching me then? I thought you would never agree thats why I sought to learn from others. But if you will train me or allow Lady Maera to train me or one of her men then I will not need to looks elsewhere." She smiles brightly at Hellan. The excitement she feels at finally being allowed to train shows through. "Can I have a blade bigger than my daggers then as well? I will need a good weapon if I am to train." She is practically bouncing on her heels now, the excitement growing.

Hellan brings a hand to her face — the other still gripped tight around the axe, now tending toward the floor — and rubs across an eye as though developing a headache. "When did you get daggers…" she mumbles. Genevra's excitement has not been infectious thus far, but when she looks up a small smile does touch her lips to see the girl's joy. It's kind, almost fond, and tremulous, Hellan's expression; shaky and fated to fade, but at least it existed in the first place. "Can we take it one thing at a time, Genevra," she mumbles again, more stern, squeezing her eyes shut.

Genevra bites her lower lip looking somewhat nervous when her mother asks about the daggers. She seems to realize her mother is tired and she nods slowly forcing herself to calm down. "Okay..one thing at a time. I'll let you rest and we you have time you can make the arrangements for my lessons…I will try to be paitent. Was there anything else we needed to speak of?" She gives Hellan a breif look of concern now that she has noticed just how tired her mother seems to be.

In all likelihood, there ought to be a whole parchement paper list of things mother and daughter should talk about. If Hellan had any more pressing points in mind, they have since disintegrated. She sits herself down in the chair, the great battle-axe resting against it. It gleams in the light from the hearth, as though freshly polished. "No," she says somewhat hazily, glancing toward a window through several heavy, disoriented blinks. It tells her nothing of the time but 'dark'. "Not today. Go—… " Do whatever she was going to do. She forgets to finish her sentence.

Genevra nods and resumes her trip to the kitchens for food with a spring to her step. The excitement of learning to fight still obviously present. She will grab a bite to eat in the kitchens and then return to her room for the night.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License