I was born in the Marshes though I really was not supposed to be.
My parents are Fielders, farmers just outside the city of Sheyham. My mother was pulled to the The Marshes by the threads of magic we call Eukar. The beach people stay on the beach and trade with the islanders. The mountain people might venture down now and then to purchase wool and spices from those in the fields, but they will rarely go any further.
Usually the Eukar seems to want to keep you in one place. It’s a natural magic that is said to work to the purpose of helping each land. But there was a phenomenon in the year I was born where the Eukar went a little bit crazy. It pulled people everywhere and the pulls were strong. The marshes are a few months travel from the Fields but my mother was pulled there in mere days. It’s actually pretty weird that neither of us died in the process of my birth.
Because I was born in the time of the Pull, I can sense the Eukar a bit better than others. I figured this out when I was wrestling with my brother’s friends at 12 years old. Usually I’d just fight with my younger sister, someone I could take. I was as strong as any other Fieldwoman my age but the boys had always been stronger. However this was a special case as my dear brother’s friends had very suddenly developed an interest in calling me names.
I wasn’t great at learning the histories you see and they thought it was absolutely hilarious how dumb I could be. Truth be told I just struggled to remember things that I wasn’t interested in. I didn’t care about the royal family and where their ancestors came from or how our laws were formed. I didn’t care about any of the amendments and the time they were decreed, or past famines. It was all about us - our people, our land. What about the rest of the world? Isn’t the unfamiliar meant to be more exciting?
Anyways I kind of snapped when one of the boys called me a stupid piggie-girl. Not the most refined of insults but it hit home because I hated looking after the pigs and cooking the meals. I wanted to hunt with my brother and his friends. They would run over the green hills with their bows and find rabbits on a good day, occasionally bison on a really good day. Boys were judged to be better at that kind of thing. Girls had to stay near the home where they could be safe and do the boring work while chatting to each other about the upcoming festivals.
I punched him in the mouth and it hurt. It hurt me I mean, he was more in shock. The shock turned to amusement as he saw how mad I was and how badly I was going to lose this fight. I braced myself for impact.
But neither of us was prepared for what happened next as I felt the pull of the Eukar. The old magic guided me in a way I could hardly resist, and I punched him again but this time it was him who was in pain. His jeering friends joined to put me in my place as they had before and I found myself spinning and kicking them, moving faster and in ways I had never moved before. Within a minute all five of them were moaning on the ground. Somehow I had used their strength against them.
The Eukar had used me. Why? I have no idea.
But after that I became fearless.