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In my last story, I mentioned that there were only three books in the BGS series, but there are a whole lot more. I'll just state that it's in the series in my little introductory note every time.
Tabitha picked up her father’s bow. Why shouldn’t she learn to shoot?
Silently, she slid from the house and went to the targets her brothers used to practice.
She knelt down and notched an arrow on the bowstring.
Then she fired.
Her first arrow hit the bullseye.
“Good, for a beginner.”
The voice came from the foliage.
“Who are you?” She asked, “Where are you?”
An old squirrel slid from the underbrush. He had a sling over his shoulder and was carrying a bow.
He stopped beside her. “What you must learn is how to hit the target every time, like this.” He fired off a round of arrows.
“Now, if you would, kindly fetch those for me.”
Tabitha went over to the target and found every arrow in the bullseye. She removed them and took them to the squirrel.
He knelt down so his face was level to hers.
“Would you like to learn how to do that?”
She nodded vigorously.
“Then you shall.”
And so began the education of Tabitha Spinnet, Bowmaiden.
Kayla watched her brothers file out of the door after her father and the old squirrel.
She turned to her mother. “Why can’t I go too?”
Her brother Alfred sniggered.
“Because you’re too little. Anyway, you’re a girl!”
He immediately regretted speaking.
Their mother turned to him.
“Alfred, leave Kayla alone! I will not have bullying or teasing in this household!”
She gave him a swat with her broom, sending him scurrying out of the kitchen.
Then she turned to Kayla.
“Kayla, dear, I know you want to go, but I don’t want you to be like a boy. You must grow to be a respectable young mouse some day, and you know that maids must never play with weapons.”
Kayla sniffed. She knew her mother was right, but she wanted so much to be able to do what her brothers did. It was like she was being kept prisoner.
She went about her chores slowly that day. She wanted the day to be over, but she knew it wouldn’t work to finish quickly. That would just give her more free time to mope about how she didn’t get to learn to fight.
She moped anyway.
That evening, when the family returned, the old squirrel was not with them.
“Papa, where is Mister Perkins?” Kayla asked him.
Her father sat down by the fireplace. Kayla jumped on his lap, asking again, “Where is Mister Perkins, Papa?”
Her father heaved a sigh.
“He said he was going on on his travels. I suppose he’s not far off. He refused my offer to dinner. Just trotted off in the woodlands, saying he had other business to attend to. No use tryin’ t’ talk him out of that.”
He yawned cavernously.
Then he picked her up and took her to her bedroom.
“It is time for all the good little mousemaids in this house to go in this house to go to bed. Now, goodnight. Don’t read in bed, it’ll only make you tired in the morning.”
And with that, he blew out her candle and left the room.
Kayla was not the kind of creature that simply sat around and let others have their way. She was the kind of creature who did things. Things that she wanted to do.
And this night, she knew exactly what she wanted. When the house was quiet she slipped out of bed and outside, grabbing her father’s sword from the doorpost as she went.
Then she made her way to the shooting practice area.
She made her way to the dummy her brothers had made for sword practice, and began to hack at it.
She did surprisingly well.
After a long while of hacking, she began her way back to the house, exhausted, dragging the sword blade in the dust as she went.
She was scarcely out of the clearing when she stopped in her tracks.
“Tut tut,” a voice said behind her. “Little maids shouldn’t be playing with swords. You know, you’re just like your mother. I feel like I could go back in time you look so much like her, only she had a bow, not a sword.”
Kayla whirled around to see the Mister Perkins leaning against a tree watching her.
“Y-you were watching me?”
“Indeed I was. You seem all the more like your mother now. Would you like training? It’s awfully hard to successfully learn swordsmanship on a dummy that won’t move.”
“Um...Yes...Maybe...Could I really?”
Kayla ran to him. “Oh, thank you, thank you!”
And so began the education of Kayla Spinnet.