Blind Warrior


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2. Chapter 1.

I woke up early. Everyone did, it was an exciting day. I walked through our house. It was small and dark, or so my mum said, but it was safe and it was home. I ran my hands along the wall as I walked, checking nothing had changed that I hadn’t sensed. Nothing had, but today, everything would. Today was the day where I would show that I am a warrior. The stone was cold on my feet. I didn’t want to wear shoes, not yet. I could see better without any on. They made my feet feel trapped. It was as if I was wearing a blindfold. “Celosia”, my mother called. “Yeah?”, I called back, walking into the kitchen to find her. “How are you feeling”, she said. I felt her smile and she lifted her arms. I walked into her embrace. She didn’t wear perfume but always smelled wonderful. She was the apothecary in our part of the city so always smelt of herbs. I returned to her question. “Alright”, I replied, sighing slightly. “Mum, what if they find out I’m blind?”, I blurted out. The worry had been stuck in my chest for days. “They won’t, my love. Even if they did, you would try again next year”, she responded, hugging me tighter. “Well, then, what if they realise next year?” “We will cross that bridge when we come to it”, she said, finally letting me go. She kissed me on the head and I returned down the hall to my room. I searched around the room for the clothes that my mother had left out. I couldn’t see them so I tapped my feet on the ground until the clothes vibrated enough for me to see them. They were on the bed, at the far end, the one place I hadn’t thought to check. I felt at them. There was a pair of trousers made of thick material. It was what the female warriors from our city wore. There was also a top made of a similar material. It was a vest-top shape but much sturdier and with a higher neckline. Again, it was what the female warriors from our city. Both, I was told, were in our city colours. Each city in our land was named after a bird corresponding with their values. We were the Falcons because we were known for our mental speed, agility and grace. Our colours were deep brown and burnt sienna. I had never seen any colours, I’d always been blind, so I knew colours by smell. Deep brown was coffee. It was a strong scent that you remembered and was bittersweet. Burnt sienna smelled like earth. To me, it was a fantastic smell, it reminded me of earth magic and home. I quickly put on my clothes then searched around for my boots. They were much easier to find, simply at the base of my bed and I had sensed them when searching for my clothes. I felt them. They were combat boots, probably deep brown, and were very thick. I laced them onto my feet then stood. I felt blind. “Mum!”, I shouted, panicking. “Mum, I can’t see!” I heard her rush in but couldn’t feel her. She sat me down and took my boots off. I put my feet back on the floor, my sight returned. “Thank you”, I said. “It’s okay. I’ll see if I can find some other ones with a thinner sole”, she said, walking out of the room. As she left, I felt something drop to the floor. It was small and it shattered when it hit the ground. A tear. She was crying. She didn’t think I could do it. I felt my mask beside me and picked it up. It was very detailed and covered half of my face. I had made it into a falcon, that way, I wouldn’t stand out until I performed. My mask was intricate. I had collected real falcon feathers from around our city. It had taken me two years to collect enough. I had been told they were a good luck charm. They also covered my eyes. If no one realised I was blind until I had been chosen, they couldn’t refuse and I would continue to train. My mother walked back in. She was holding something, two things in fact, both large but light. They were the boots. My mother passed them to me and sat next to me. I handled the boots carefully. Unlike the last shoes, they were knee high but were made of a thinner material on the soles. “They’re burnt sienna not deep brown this time”, my mother said. She knew that I liked to know the colour of things, even if I didn’t know what they looked like. I slipped them on. They were comfier than the last pair. I stood up. I could see. Smiling, I turned to the bed where my mum was sat. “Thank you so much”, I said. “It’s okay”, she said. I felt her smile too. “Do you want me to do your hair or are you doing it?”, she asked. “I think I can manage my hair, but thank you”, I replied. She handed me a brush and some pins then left back to the kitchen. I tugged the brush through my hair. I was told it was deep brown, just like the falcon colour, and I could feel that it was thick and wavy. It was also very long. I preferred it that way. It acted as a safety curtain. I could disappear behind it. After brushing it through. I took bits and pinned it up. It ended up as a very thick almost bun that was shoulder length. My mother said it looked good and I felt comfortable with it like that. I walked back into the kitchen. My mum handed me a plate of food. “Grapes, cheese and bread”, she told me. I nodded to her and sat down. I ate quickly then went to brush my teeth. My mother met me in the bathroom. She was holding something small in her hand. It was a pencil of some sort. It smelled of berries. It was lipstick. We’d agreed that whilst I kept the rest of my outfit simple, I would wear red lipstick so that I was memorable. I didn’t know what the colour looked like but I knew it was bold. I had also decided that once I’d finished, I would smile at the judges, one to the side that showed confidence. I had to make sure they remembered me. My mother brushed the makeup on my lips. Whilst her hands shook, she never made a mistake. She finished quickly then left. I ambled back into my room, picked up my mask and then went to the door to search for my cloak. It too was red but a deep tone instead of bright. It was a soft material and was ankle length. The hood was large so lay carefully on my head but did not make me feel suffocated. I walked out into our city, the vibrations of a thousand feet coursed through my body, waking me up. I sprinted to the town hall, the dusty earth swirling around me as I ran. I hoped it wouldn’t make me dirty. When I reached the hall, a large crowd was gathered. I was a little late and so slipped in at the back, catching the end of the speech. “So, the youths of our city, I know speak to you. Once I am finished, come up to where I stand and we will take you into the great hall to see your audition. I wish you the best of luck. Let us start!” I felt at least a hundred feet move towards the steps, the cheering of at least three hundred in my ears. I followed the movements to the steps, being careful to keep my mask up. I climbed the steps and slotted into the excited ramble of teenagers then waited to be taken inside.

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