I may as well get this gear on. It was inevitable I was going to fight anyway. I walked up the plank to the main deck of the ship and scanned around. For a ship, it was pretty bland. If I could, I would have added some accessories to make the ship more at home, but what a waste of time that would have been. There were crewmen at the ropes, some by some barrels of possible supplies and some mingling as if war never came across their mind. I've never been on a boat before, so it was a new experience. Brutus headed into a brown cabin of some sort, frosted glass made a vague outline of him. Maybe that was the navigation room where the helm to the controls resided.
Raven came up the plank, immediately to my side, "Get your gear on, then." She said, her hate still seeping through her skin.
"Where?" I asked.
"Follow me. Never been on a boat before, have you?" She asked, coming towards a sturdy staircase that went down into an abyss.
"No, it's my first time." I replied, looking out to sea. It was beautiful, the reddish sky was still turning gold and then blue. However, I could only take in so much - time was against me. I took my first step on the staircase, hearing a discouraging creek that rattled my ankle.
"I suggest you stay below deck until we arrive. Don't want you sea-sick before we hit their shore." Raven's demonic giggle only made it more patronising. I wasn't that weak or prone to illness.
"Okay," I said with a reproach sliding back on my tongue.
We came to a narrow hallway. About two people could squeeze in to get past one another or three if you were really thin. There were a series of doors leading into different rooms on the left, the first one being mine as Raven pivoted towards it. The rusty blue latch that held the door to the hinge was swung back, unlocked.
"All yours. Don't be like your sister and take forever."
"I won't," I assured her and went on through the door, closing it with my shoulder. Now I was alone again. In the dark wooden box room, there was a desk that came to my breasts and a stool that came to my knees. Above the desk was something I found more daunting: a mirror. I didn't use it for its proper purpose – to review myself. I used it to compare myself. From me to Gantis, from me to Faithful, from me to any other pretty girl who lived in our kingdom.
I came over to the desk and hoisted the sack onto the table, hearing leather folding and metal clanging together. Before slipping off my robes, I redid the latch onto the door for privacy. The scratched metal sent a rime through my nerves as I touched it; the surface hasn't been touched in months.
I stepped back over to the mirror and slipped my robes off, quickly folding them afterwards onto the table. With the undying urge to look into the mirror, I punched the hole of the sack and got held of a string. It was the string to my emblem to be precise. I let it slither out of the sack and into view, its sharp triangular edges catching a glint of any possible light. I had to fight for this emblem, the honour to be in the ranks of the Blood Letter. I stretched the string over my head and loosed, letting the strings land soft on my shoulders.
Then my eyes made contact with the mirror. I glared myself down. What was it? What didn't I have? Was it my bloodied red hair? My piercing red eyes? Maybe it was my body, my physical appearance. Didn't I appeal to anyone?
With a sigh, I closed my eyes. The rejection I felt was too much to bare in a single sitting. I charged my hand into the sack and searched through the rubble of leather and metal. I found the masterfully woven pair of gloves, its texture already flattering my skin. Without opening my eyes, I slotted them both on and resumed my search. The next thing my fingers tips touched was my leathery harness, still without a ruin after many battles. I glided it out of the sack and strapped the belts on tight around my waist, across my breasts and over my shoulders. After all these years, it was still a perfect fit.
Again, with my eyes securely shut, I went for the first thing that my hand touched. My leg guards came to contact. I grasped its fine threaded finish and held it out. I didn't see it, but I could smell yesterday's iron. It was stained into the thigh area when Raven debilitated my hamstrings; her intention was so that I didn't run. She succeeded. I never felt so much pain. I slotted them on and done the straps that bound my skin to the leather.
The last thing that came with this set was my one-sided shoulder guard. My misplaced crown that differentiated who I was to the rest of the army. I took it out carefully and keyed it to my shoulder, letting the weight sink into my body. I fastened the strap and went for my tools.
Vendetta and Clemency.
They weren't like Raven's daggers, but they had the deep runic patterns and sleek chrome finish. Like walking across a mountain range, I flicked my finger across the edges of both of them and pocketed both into the concealment pockets of my leg guards.
I was complete, and with that, I gently opened my eyes.
I could see why I wasn't loved by men. I looked like a monster.