Days slowly began to fade into months and then years, with no word from Cassie’s father. This fact, and her mother nagging her to quit, only made Cassie train harder. She was older now, 13 year old, which means she had more responsibilities than just training.
Her mother was unable to pay for Cassie to keep up school, but made an agreement, Cassie could continue her training if she read one book every few months, depending on the merchants who passed through her small town. This week’s book was titled, “Glorify the Kingdom: A Woman’s Duties.” Which droned on about marriage, children and fidelity to the Kingdom. She knew this was another way for her mother to nudge her towards marriage but Cassie didn’t care nor did she want it.
Her mother glanced over at Cassie and shook her head as Cassie was twirling her red locks around her finger. This was the universal sign that she was just pretending to read, but today of all days her mother was going to give her some slack.
“Cas, would you like to come the sewing shop with me today?” Her mother asked standing in the frame of the front door. Cassie threw the book down and ran over to her mother excited.
“Is my costume done?!” Cassie asked hoping from one foot to the other in anticipation. She didn’t notice her mother’s furrowed brow as she gazed at the book sitting pages down with a crease now down the spine.
“Cassie! You need to be careful with these books they lose their value when damaged.” Her mother scolded her as she stomped over picking the book off the floor and placing it on the small wooden table in the kitchen.
Cassie looked unfazed by her mother’s dramatics, “No girl or woman should have to read that garbage.”
Her mother shot her a steeled-eyed gaze, “If you want to get your costume and go to the festival tonight, you will take care of your things! Other kids would love to be able to read a book than work long hours in a field!”
Cassie sighed, walked over to the table and picked up the book. She dramatically wiped the book cover on her long brown skirt. “I am sorry.” She mumbled as she set it down. Her mother nodded in acceptance of her apology and off the two women went to the sewing shop.
She sat in the only chair in the small sewing shop as her mother and the shopkeep were talking. Cassie could tell something was wrong because of the upset expression on her mother’s face as she was talking to the shopkeep. The conversation ended with a nod from her mother as she grabbed a black garment and made her way to Cassie.
“As requested.” Her mom handed her the items, “A top, head ban and pants, all black of course.” Cassie rocketed from the chair grabbing the black garments from her mother and smiling happily.
“Most people put some white or yellow on the festival costumes.” The shopkeep said looking at Cassie in bewilderment.
“No need.” Cassie responded, “Tonight, at my first moon festival, my hands, neck and face will be the stars and this garment the night sky.” She continued, “And my mother will be my lovely moon.”
The shopkeep scoffed as her mother looked to the dirt floor, “No, love. I am needed here for work. A duke is getting married and we have to get all their wedding wear just right.”
“Does that mean I can’t go tonight, Ma?” Cassie’s said with a defeated tone in her voice. Her mother smiled faintly, “You my go, but only with Agric as your companion.”
“I’ll go ask him now. Thanks, Ma!” Cassie yelled as she ran out the door to find Agric.
It didn’t take Cassie long to find Agric, he was in his normal hiding place, the alley behind the pub. “Hey Cas!” He waved her over.
“Are you going to the Moon Festival tonight?” She blurted out. He gave her an awkward smile, “Of course, it’s my first one too.”
“Can I go with you?” She asked excitedly. Agric’s green eye’s sparkled at the question, “Your Ma okay with that?”
“Yes! She has some garments to sow and you are my best friend after all.” She said poking him in the shoulder with her finger.
“Fine by me.” Agric shrugged squatting down he grabbed a stick that was by his feet and began to draw in the dirt.
“What are you doing?” Cassie asked squatting down next to him.
“I’m drawing out battle plans.” He drew a line far away from his other drawings.
“What is that?” She pointed to it.
“Oh. That’s you. You know you can’t compete in the local sword and battle competition.”
Cassie stood up quickly and kicked the dirt pictures away, “You know I am better than all those other boys!”
As she huffed away as Argic called to her, “See you tonight Cas!”