Ever since I was a child, I was always different. I never like to do the things that normal girls did; sewing, cooking, and playing with dolls. I like to climb trees, play in the mud, and with wooden swords. The elders would always look down at me when they saw me with the boys, but they never did anything about it. Every day I would come home caked in mud and other things that only god knows what. My parents were very disappointed in me but knew I had my grandfather's personality, so there was no way to change who I was. The only people who tried to change me were the other kid's parents, they kept scolding me for not acting like the other girls, sometimes I would come home with bruises from where the parents had beaten me, but my parents never knew about that. I would always tell them that the boys were playing a little more ruff that day.

As I grew older I started to see why the other people were angry with me, I was changing what was the norm. Even the boys I once plaid with started to treat me different, they would treat me more delicately less like I was equal to them. Even my body was changing. I got wider hips and my chest started to form breasts. It was then did I finally realize that I was not a boy and I couldn't do what they did. I was a girl. That day hit me like a tone of bricks.

What got me the most was the day both my parents died from the fever. The healer said she had done as much as she could and that she was sorry for their death. I had cried for days over their graves. I wondered why they left me and I was angry at god for taking them away from me. By then I had started to become more of a girl to please my parents, but after that I completely lost all motivation to act like a normal girl would.

Everyone was so surprised to see me when I had finally come out of my house dressed as a boy. I was wearing my father's brown breeches, they were big but that fit my purpose. Even is blue wool tunic was big. None of that mattered as long as I looked like a boy. The clothes hid all my womanly assets from the world, they only way someone could see I was not a boy is if they looked at my face because all my brown hair was pushed up in my father's cap. Besides the clothes I wore, my eyes looked hollow; the green had no light behind them, no soul. It was as if I had died and only a shell on my body remained.

From then on I joined all the things that the boys did; I even changed my name from Mira to Myren. At first the boys didn't know what to do with me. Then as time went on the biggest and strongest started to really pick on me.

He plaid many pranks on me, he even threw cow dung at my house, but it was the day that he desecrated my parents graves by burning the crosses that told that place where they rest. Something in my head finally snapped. I stalked up to him on training day and punched him right in the jaw. I hit him so hard that he staggered back a few steps and then looked at me like he was surprised that a girl could punch him that hard or at all. Without any other thought I pounce, I punched him every where I could, shouting anything that came to mind. I didn't even know that he was unconscious until the elder pulled me off him screaming. Seeing him on the ground all bloodied up and unconscious, I knew that no one else would mess with me ever again, but it also drove me into tears at how badly I could hurt someone. I cried into the elder's chest and he took me home. I did not go to training for a few days. I tried to visit the boy I beat up, but his parents wouldn't let me near him.

Walking home I had a thought that would forever be with me.

I was as strong as the boys and I could do what they could and no one could tell me other wise

When I came back to training the boys were scared of me because they knew that I could beat them if I wanted to and that gave me new confidence in my abilities. Soon I became the top of my class; I was in the top three in everything; sword fighting, fist fighting, and archery.

When the boy came back, I approached him. He looked scared but after some talk we decided on a truce, in the end we became friends. We would always be partnered in everything. He didn't go easy on me and I didn't go easy on him.

Life was good until when I turned fourteen and I became the best archer in the village even to the adults who had been practicing archery all there lives. Everyone was surprised, some even thought I was a devil child and should be thrown out. But all the boys from training were floored and excited for me. I started to teach the archery classes from them on, much too some peoples dismay. I didn't care I had found my place and no one could take that away from me.

I was on my way from teaching my class when I heard a scream. I knew that scream it was from Kylie. I ran as fast as I could to where I thought she was. What I found there were two men looming above her, her top half tore off. They were about to go down on her when I shouted, "GET AWAY FROM HER!"

The two men quickly turned around afraid that they had been caught by her father by the sound of the deep voice (being around the boys I started to talk like them, in their accent and tone). Seeing it was me, that I looked like a young boy at thirteen even though I was sixteen, they went back to what they were doing thinking that I could do nothing to save the girl below them. I took out my bow and one arrow; I pointed them at the men.

"I said get away from her," I snarled. One of them looked up again; his eyes bulged at the sight of the arrow pointed straight at his head. He poked his friend and they both tried to run away but a new voice entered the picture.

"What is going one here?" a man asked from behind me. I turned to see who the new player was. He was tall, taller then me at least six feet to my five foot four. He was bald but had a blonde goatee. He had muscles sprouting all over his body. He wore shined armor and the king's crest, showing that he was a high ranking soldier for the king. I finally noticed the kings crest on both the two men's chest. They were soldiers and this was the leader.

"You boy why are you pointing that weapon at my men when they have all the right to enjoy in what this village has to offer?" my anger surged at his comment. He was saying that my friend was nothing but an object to be used at these…these animals leisure! Oh hell no, I was not going to let this slide. I was about to turn my arrow at the bald man but Kylie ran up to me and put a hand on my shoulder. She shook her head no.

"I'm sorry but my beau is a bit protective of me and he gets angry very quickly," she lied quickly. I was completely shocked at her lie but did not let it show. To keep up with the farce I rapped my arm around her waste. But the man was not convinced.

"If you two are really lovers why don't you give her a kiss," He looked smug. He was challenging me and I could never back down from a challenge. I looked into Kylie's eyes before I kissed her. She squeaked in response. It must've been a weird thing to be kissed by a girl, because it was for me. Also it was both our first kisses.

"Alright you have proven it to me. Now go and let my men finish their business with her and then you can have her back." My anger flared to pass the point of no return. But, again, before I could do anything Kylie spoke up again. She was angry to and I knew from experience she may not be strong but she could give a good tongue lashing.

"What!? If it is going to be like this with everyone then I think I speak for everyone that we will not let you degrade our women like this," she shouted, almost up into the face of the leader of the soldiers. He stared at her shocked for a few minutes before he burst out laughing.

"And how to purpose to stop us?" he inquired.

"An archery contest, your best man against our best man," she answered snugly. I smirked; we both knew that no one could beat me in archery. He smirked to, an evil smirk, like he was going to make us pay if we didn't win the contest.

"Alright, you better have him read by tomorrow at noon." With that comment laced with threat he left with the two soldiers hot on his tail asking why he had agreed to the stupid contest. He just waved them off and kept walking to where his soldiers were lodged.

Kylie sighed pushing he blonde hair behind her ears. Her blue eyes were starting to shine with tears that she had fought to keep in through the whole encounter. I took her into my arms, letting her cry into my shirt until she was spent. When she was done I walked her to her house and told her parents that she needed some rest and that she needed to be at the archery range by noon so she could see the contest. They looked at me strange but nodded none the less.

Walking away from Kylie's house I knew that I had to win no matter what. Those men had hurt my only family; they had hurt her real bad. I was going to make sure that they knew my whole fury when this was over and that none of them wanted to ever come to us again even when I was dead and gone.

I walked over to the elder's tent and told them of the contest. They all agreed that I should be the one the represented them. They also agreed to call me by Myren not Mira as they have always done even when no one else did. They knew the penalty of having a girl impersonate a boy and defeating a king's soldier in a contest. It was a stupid law but it meant that the women would be beheaded, the head would be put on a spike and the body could be used in any way by the defendant. It was a stupid law but everyone followed it, until now. The elders did not like how the soldiers were treating any of the women especially Kylie since she was the most favorite in the whole town. Every one loved her and would do anything for her. She was a healer as well, not the best but was getting there. I left the tent some what less angry then I was when I entered.

I went straight to my house just outside the forest. It wasn't the cleanest but it served its purpose. It had a bed and dresser in one room. I left my parents room untouched since their death. The kitchen was in the front. I had a small table and two old chairs, a fire place and one rocking chair my mother used to use when I woke up after a night mare to calm me down until I went to sleep. Tears started to push up in my eyes but I beat them back savagely. I was tired and I wanted to go to sleep. Tomorrow was going to be a long day and I couldn't waste time crying over my dead parents, I already did a lot of that, two years ago. They were dead and there was nothing I could do to change that. I had trouble going to sleep that night but soon I became too tired that not even my busy mind could keep my body from the rest it needed.

The first rays of sun woke me. It was so close to dawn when I went to sleep that I decided I would sleep one extra hour so I wasn't too tired for the contest. Despite the sun I slept at least two more hours and the only reason I woke up was because some one was knocking on my door. Putting on my father's tunic, breeches, and hat I had on yesterday, I answered the door. John was standing there looking a little disheaved (he is the boy I beat up when I was fourteen). He was breathing hard like he had run the whole way here. My house was on the edge of town so it would be a long run from where his house resided on the other side of the town.

"What?" I asked trying to stifle I yawn.

"The Commander has changed the time. He wants to do the contest now," he stated still out of breath. I let out a frustrated sigh. Grumbling how could anyone have a contest this early in the morning? I got my bow and arrows. John was waiting for me when I came out. My face was emotionless as we walked to the archery range. A rather large crowd had already started to form. Most were the villagers and the rest were the soldiers. I could see in the faces of everyone that they wanted these soldiers to leave in any way possible, they were already a nuisance even though they had only been here a few days.

The commander noticed us coming up to the crowd. He scowled. I loved the fact that he was disappointed that we made it, it meant that he wasn't overly confident with his skills. That was his weakness and I was going to everything in my power to exploit it. I had an arrogant smile on my face when we stood in front of the commander. He looked down at us surprised; he wasn't expecting to see me with my bow and arrow ready. He started laughing then. I started to get very angry again, NO one laughs at me, NO one.

"You are sending this… this child to go against me?" he choked out, trying to emphasize the word child through snorts.

"You scared?" I enquired back. He looked stunned at my confidence.

"Are you the best in your pathetic village?" I was now seething with rage but didn't let it show, if I did he would use my anger against me and that wasn't a good thing.

"Yes, I am, and since you are old I will go easy you. It that fair?" I answered smugly. I got see the veins in his neck pop out and his face go brick red. It was quite funny to watch. I bet no one had ever dared to insult him like I just did. I basked in his anger knowing that I was the one who caused it and that because of that I was going to win hands down.

"Shall we start the contest?" John asked, knowing all too well what I had just achieved. He was slightly smirking as he led us to our posts in front of a target. He stride was even more confident them normal which is saying a lot considering he had one of the largest ego's in the whole village. His blonde hair as always was perfect, in the style of that year. His eyes were the brightest green anyone from the village had ever laid eyes on. They were almost like an emerald in the king's crown. Despite his looks he wasn't a pansy, he was the only man to challenge me.

Any way we took our spots fifty yards away from the target. Easy. I could make this shot with my eyes closed. I snuck a glance at the general, he looked confident. His stance was calculating. Maybe he would be a challenge I was looking for. I couldn't wait to compete against him, it would prove to be very interesting, and even though he wouldn't beat me I knew that he couldn't beat me. No one has beaten me in over two years, not even the past best archery is starting to prove very easy to beat.

"You nervous boy?"

"No," a short answer leaving it wide open for interpretation. Just what to do when a skill man asks you that question, Leave him guessing, give him doubt.

We both checked our arrows and tested the resistance of our bows. Of course he had the latest style and the best money could buy. While I had my father's old bow, though it was hand made by my father I doubt anyone could make a more superior bow. Each of my arrows I made my self, each and everyone to my satisfaction, I would not trust anyone other then my self to make any of my weapons, to dangerous.

"Ready?" John asked us both, not daring to show any of his emotion afraid it might give away something. Like it would, none of the soldiers are skilled enough to look at how the crowd is responding to the opponent, if they are quite and have something to hide or if they are nervous. I have only met one who does that and he was my teacher, he is dead now but still his skills surpass even mine.

"Yes" we both said at the same time. He glared at me, I smirked. He was going to lose and he was going to lose to someone half his age. Not something a man like him is used too, I am looking forward to seeing his face when he loses.

He takes his stance, going first isn't the best but he chose it so I am not complaining. His arrow shot fast and true, hitting the ring just out side the bulls-eye. Interesting. My arrow went exactly were I wanted it too, two rings out side of the bulls-eye. I always do this give the man a false lack confidence in my skill, then to get the bulls-eye every time at the end.

It went on like this for a while, me being right behind him every single time. The commander was getting cockier by every round that is until I got my first bulls-eye.

"That was a stroke of luck, you know, boy." He was trying to get into my head. It won't work only one person did that before. He is going to get less confident soon. All I need is three bulls-eyes in a row, in my town that is how you win.

Bulls-eye, the commander

Bulls-eye, me

That's two to one; I can see his sweat now.

Bulls-eye, the commander

I fake a trip and fake looking nervous, I want to play with him now, to see him squirm a little.

"Before I make my last shot, I want to make a deal with you," I hoped that he would fall for this little trick of mine. If he did we wouldn't have to deal with these…scum wouldn't be coming around here anymore.

"What kind of deal?" Smart one; never accept a deal until you heard what the deal is.

"If I win then any of the king's men, soldiers, nobles, anyone of the king is not allowed to set foot into this village. We will pay the taxes but only if they fit the circumstance. If I lose then you are welcome to our village's assets and no one will challenge you or your men." I set up harsh terms. He could risk giving the village to the people who resided there without the king knowledge, he would risk be accused of treachery, which he would be headed if he lost this challenge. If he won he could abuse this village and its people without any of the villagers putting up a fight. I guess he was dumb enough to take that risk, because almost without a second hesitation he agreed to my terms. No negotiating, as I expected. No laughing, as I expected. No refusing to such extreme terms, as I expected. Just him saying yes to everything with his confident grin. He thought that he would win and he would get to flaunt his victory in my face be…doing something he knew I would not like. Probably he would take away my friend's reputation. I would not let that happen, at least when I win we would not be bothered by his type again.

Taking my stance again, I took aim. Something hit my leg just as I was setting the arrow free. The arrow shot right passed the target and into the grass right beyond it.

What? How?

I could see something move from behind me. The commander! He cheated! There is no way I am going to let this slide. Unsheathing my dagger, I whipped around knocking the commander to the ground; pushing the dagger right on his throat. He let out a strangled gasp. I heard people rush up, but they didn't get near me. The villagers were angry and they wanted these soldiers out of our village, now.

"You have such a lack of faith in your ability that you resort to cheat? You call your self a knight. You have to resort to cheating to win a simple contest?" I growled. I was angry and there was nothing anyone could do to calm me down, "you cheated, thus you automatically give up the contest. I win, you lose. You and your men, all of the kings men are not allowed to step foot into this village."

"No, I will not accept that!" he tried to yell.

"Too bad," I snarled, to someone in the crowed I yelled for them to write up a treaty. Within minutes I held the piece of paper in front of his face.

"You can write!?"

"Yes, its shocking isn't it? You will sign this or I will cut off your manhood in front of all these people." Shaking he signed. Weak man, not someone worth all this time. Sitting up, still I have the dagger pointing at the commander. I yell to every one there, "the treaty is signed, none of the king's men is allowed to step foot in our village ever again." Shouts of joy sounded, and angry profanities spurted from their mouths. To the soldiers I said my tone laced with threat and smugness, "you better go, and we are not a gentle village to people who treat us like pigs." Fear raced through there eyes, many ran to the forest and to where they were camped.

I smirked down at the commander, his face was pure fury. I winked at him. I took my dagger and looked between him and it, with an expression on my facing that said if-you-don't-go-soon- I- stay-true-to-my-threat. He stumbled up in a flash and was gone before I could even blink.

I laughed evilly. Triumph shown in all our eyes. We would be safe as long as the soldiers stayed true to the treaty, even if they didn't we would chase them away. After the last of the scum was gone from our eyes, they all went to the barn to have a party. I stayed where I was basking in my new found victory.

My village would not be harmed the king ever again. The king would shrink in fear when he heard my name.

No one would touch my village ever again.

No man could ever make me feel anything but hate for the soldiers, no man.

She was wrong but would not know that until many years later.

7