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Kevin G Hare

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Abby Archer

Heroes of many sorts and sizes have traveled through the streets of Morthain.  Yet in all the days of ancient glory, the most interesting was a nine year old girl named Abby.

Abby was very close to her father as she was growing up.  She followed him everywhere he went and helped him with his daily chores like cutting wood for the cooking pit, tending the horses in the stable and making boots and vests for the leather shop they had in town.  She even went with her father when he hunted for food.  That’s when she learned how to use a bow.  Her father had made her a little one to use and she practiced every day.

By Abby’s ninth birthday, she knew practice makes perfect and she could use a bow as well as any boy.  She could even rival the young wood elves of Darwindane Forest.  That’s when she felt she was ready for Broden’s Archery School of Morthain.  Broden was a Master Elf Bow Instructor and had the best school in the lands.  Abby’s father was very proud of her decision and thought she would soon be the best in her class.

The school itself was very large, one of the largest buildings on the edge of town with a field out back that served as the practice range.  Abby entered the school and walked through the hallway where several students mingled about or tended to their various studies.  In some of the rooms Abby saw students making their own bows while in other rooms she saw students learning of the different types of bows used by hunters and the king’s guards.  As Abby walked she noticed many students turned to stare at her and that made her nervous.  She looked around and saw there were a lot of boys and young men, and elf boys and young elf men, but there were no girls.  That made her very nervous.

Derrik, a boy about her age, approached her.  “What is your business here?”  He asked her.

“I, I wish to join the school.”  She said.

“You?!  But you’re a girl!  Girls don’t go to Broden’s school.”

“But I am really good.”  She pleaded.

“You can’t be as good as a boy!  You’re only a girl!”  He turned to his classmates and they all began to laugh.

Soon the hallway was filled with laughter and Abby became very scared.  She turned and ran from the school as fast as she could.  She ran to the forest and dodged around trees and bushes until she came to rest at a large, old oak tree in the middle of a field.  She slumped down at its roots and pulled her knees up and she began to cry.  How was she to compete in a school of boys?  She was a good archer, she knew she was.  Those boys just didn’t give her a chance!

“Who be crying at these roots?”  Came a voice from above.  Abby stopped crying and looked around.  “Oh, a girl-child is!  I see now, I see!”

A small creature clothed in simple cloth pants and long shirt stepped around the tree and hopped up onto a root beside her.

Abby looked at him.  “What are you?”

“Not a what, a who!  Just like you.”  He smiled.  “Bester is who, an imp am I!”

“Bester the imp.”  She repeated.  “I am sorry for crying at your tree.  My name is Abby.”

“Oh I see, I see.  Upset you are, Abby?”

“Well it’s just...I want to join the archery school but they say I can’t because I am a girl.”

“Oooooh but you have a bow.  You show them?”

“It’s not enough.  I am not good enough.”

“Hmm.  Don’t know, don’t know.  Need to see you shoot bow.  Then I know.”

Quickly, he scurried off leaving Abby by the root of the tree.  When he returned he had a large apple stuck on a tall stick.  Then he bent close to the bow and studied it.  He ran his slender fingers over it and tugged the string twice.  “I see, I see!”

He dashed out into the field in a very imp-like fashion, about a tree’s height away, and drove the stick into the ground then ran back to Abby.

“Shoot bow, hit apple, yes?  Then I know.”

Abby looked at Bester for a moment the she drew an arrow and readied it on the string.  She focused on the apple and when the arrow flew, it found its mark easily and split it into several pieces.

Bester jumped up and down with glee.  “Shoot bow!  Hit apple!  Very good enough I think!”

“I’m sure any of those boys could hit it as well.”  She said.

“Maybe so.”  Bester looked at her.  “As well as you, I think.”

Abby let the words sink in for a moment.  “Bester you are right!  Thank you, friend!”

“Yes, yes.  Show them now?  Come back later?”

“Oh yes, Bester!  Yes I will!”  She waved as she quickly left for town.  Her spirits were high, as she truly believed she was as good as any boy.

At the school, Derrik was with a small group of students on the practice range.  They were busy shooting at four large wooden statues of goblins, carved as though to attack.

“Girls won’t come to this school, they will tarnish the name of Broden!”  He told his classmates.

“You will forgive me if I don’t believe you!”  Abby’s voice came from behind them as they turned.  They jumped aside quickly as she stood with drawn bow.  She let fly four arrows as fast as she could and sent them whispering past the stunned boys.

After the last arrow was sent, the boys gazed down the range and saw the four arrows, one buried in each of the four statues.

Broden had witnessed the event and walked over to Abby.  “Young one, no girl has ever drawn a bow on the field of this school.  What have you to say for yourself?”

“Master Broden, wait.”  Derrik interrupted.  The expression on his face was very much different when he looked at Abby.  “Can you show me how you did that?”

“Well, Abby.”  Broden said.  “It seems our school welcomes you.  With your skill, I believe you will soon be the best in your class!”

And soon she was, and as she grew she had many adventures throughout the lands and that’s how the people of Morthain came to call her Abby Archer.