Story: With or without a destiny, part 1 – Home sweet misery

She was born under a lucky star on a lucky day, even the hour was a lucky one, at least that is what her village elders were chittering and chattering about every time she walked by. Well, if her destiny was to be an idiot-village-girl in an idiot-village, she was on the fast track to fulfil her destiny.  Aniyata, as all other girls and boys in the village, got up by the sounds of the cock and first glimpses of the sun. She milked cows and fed chickens, milled grains and stacked hay, picked fruit and spread dung in the fields, all until evening came and the bed seemed soft even while being made of wood with a few strands of hay. She could just not see the great destiny in all this, for she had heard the tales of great heroes, also said to have great destinies. They had swords and armour, fighting monsters and evil kings, they were handsome, wealthy and the blood in their veins was blue like the sky. She had a thin stick to chase the chickens and goats, the only monsters she faced was in her own mind, the closest she came to an evil king would be her own father nagging about how slow she did her duties, she was covered in mud every day, so she could not see if she was beautiful or not and her blood was red like the rose, for she had seen it many times.

It was her grandmother that used to tell her tales before she went to sleep, but she died when Aniyata was only five winters old. Memories of the tales was all she had left, for her father and mother were much to busy to tell childish stories. She thought of the stories, tried to tell them to herself and they continued in her dreams. For a long period all she could think of was the magnificent places, she wanted to see them all. She wanted to wander the woods of Yra, follow streams and hidden paths made by deer and wolves, listen to the birds tell their tales. To see the fabled city of Orgamon and the kings golden palace. To see the great towers of Indaron and the mother of all rivers, the great lake Escaria. She wanted to see the dragons surge above the great mountains of the south, the horse people ride across the western planes and the lazy bears of the eastern jungles. Every evening she prayed to her ancestors, her grandmother and any gods willing to listen, that this great destiny of hers should lead her to at least one of those places, but it seemed like no one were listening. Days, weeks, months and years went by, the child became a teenager and slowly the stories faded from her mind. Instead her mind was filled up with every-day-problems and every time some of the few surviving elders chattered about her destiny, she brushed it off as legends and fairy tales. Her life became grey, her dreams faded and the old stories blurred. She was doing everything mechanically and without inspiration or much effort and like that more time passed and the teenager became a young woman.

One day her father summoned her for a talk, she was surprised of this, for he never summoned her like this. Usually he came screaming and yelling about her laziness and unwillingness to do proper work, but this time he even seemed a bit polite. They both sat down in the shades of their centre yard tree and with a calm voice he said: “Now you are no longer a child, you are a woman and a woman needs a man. Therefore I have decided that you shall be married before the next full moon to Borkur Bendelson. His family is more wealthy than us and has said yes to our proposal”.  Aniyata’s heart nearly stopped, she knew this day soon would come but had ignored all such thoughts. She had seen Borkur several times when going to the market, in her eyes this man was nothing but a stupid, strong bully. She could remember that he used to push her into the mud when she was younger. Her body shivered on the thought of being his wife. “No way I am getting married to a dumb ox like that” she thought to herself, but she could see no way of escape. Once a marriage proposal was given, there was no way to recline it, such a thing would bring shame to the whole family. They might even be chased away from the village, have their farm burned to the ground and their animals taken by the other villagers. Marriage was serious business in this village. Aniyata nodded obediently and went straight to bed, crying, thinking and worrying about her future. As she fell asleep her dreams led her back to the old tales her grandmother used to tell and when she woke up there was one word that was stuck to her mind: Destiny. She hardly did any work the next day, her main task was to gather herbs in the forest, but she came home with only a handful as she spent most of the time sitting on a rock, pondering her own destiny.

A few days later her father approached her again: “You have to come with me to Yarmish tomorrow moring, for we have to prepare for the wedding. We must buy clothes for you and gifts for your new family”. Yarmish was the neighbouring town, positioned right by the great river that flowed thorugh the whole realm. The river was huge at this time of year as all the snow was melting in the mountains far to the east, this river had been strengthened by many smaller rivers and streams joining it. This was the fastest way to travel throughout the region. You could reach nearly every village and far away town by boat. Unfortunately the river stretching from her village to Yarmish was much to small and shallow for travelling by boat, so the journey took almost half a day by horse and cart. They had packed all they needed for the journey and all the items they were to sell in the market. They also had to bring their breeding bull to sell, so they could afford all they were to buy. The ride was a bumpy one, the rain that had pounded them the last few weeks had made large holes in the already bumpy forest road. Several times they had to push the cart out of mud holes and one time the bull almost escaped.

First thing on the program was to sell the bull, that was also the easiest part of the program. The bull was a mighty and strong one, renown to be one of the best breeding bulls in the area. It did not take long before people started to overbid one another and the sale ended with more money than Aniyata had ever seen, a large pouch filled with shiny silver coins. Her father stuck his hand deep into the pouch and took out a handful of coins. “Here, daughter! Go buy yourself some magnificent clothes and gifts for your mother in law. I have some other things to take care of.” Aniyata took the coins and put it in her own small pouch, barely large enough to hold all the coins, and strode towards the cloth stands at the other end of the market. She only got half the way when the thought struck her, a thought that felt as the best idea she ever had and at the same time the most scary one. She stopped in her path starring into the empty air while her thoughts and emotions were having a huge internal fight.

to be continued..