On any given day, one could walk through the courtyard and hear a myriad of sounds. At times it was cluttered with clanks and clangs of steel upon steel, a sure sign that a training exercise was taking place. Some days it was peaceful, almost serene, with the carefree songs of birds filling the air and children laughing while they played. Yet still the most enjoyable time to be the yard was in the morning, for it was then that the smell of a new day drifted in on the breeze. She pushed open the double doors and paused, smiling at the way it seemed so full of life. These were the times that she favored most – when she could take stock of what was around her before the others arrived.
The morning sun had risen high enough that the shadows cast by the trees were no longer touching one another, though it had not yet dried up the morning dew on the grass. Inhaling deeply she stepped through the doorframe and entered the center of the structure she called home. The smooth rock path beneath her feet wound through the patches of grass like a lazy serpent stretched out sunning itself. Merely picturing such a large creature made her shake her head and hope the stories of such animals were not true. Anything larger than the dogs and small pets owned by the people nearby did not sit well with the young girl, certainly not anything that could swallow them whole! She laughed at the absurdity and continued walking, passing several small benches and rocks where she had spent many days studying, and many nights staring at the sky.
How could anyone not appreciate what surrounded them? Even the plants themselves seemed to stand straighter on a morning like this, the beauty of life surrounding them too intoxicating to ignore. Being alive, safe, and provided for left much room for the satisfaction of knowing you were okay to fill the day with wonder. So many times she saw people walk by with their heads down, rushing to and fro consumed with the events of the day. If they would only pause long enough to breathe they’d find strength they didn’t know they had. It was as though the entire world around them was screaming for a moment of peace, yet they were too busy to listen.
She approached a small building, and after greeting the guard standing outside, the girl opened the door to the workshop and walked in. Her eyes adjusted and took in the familiar sight of equipment, weapons, and tools from around the world. She walked over to her workbench and slid one of several books aside – probably one she had fallen asleep reading while awaiting letters from her friends. It seemed as though time flew and stood still all at once, one day she missed them very much, and others it was as though they had left yesterday. The important thing was to always remember that they’d see each other again, however, and the thought brought her smile back as she reached for her armor.
It felt light but held strong, and had withstood many fiery arrows since she learned to bear its weight years ago. At first she had trouble moving among the shifting plates, yet with time learned to stand firm in the days when evil waged war against what was good. A red cross marked her shield as a symbol of her faith, and the helmet she wore had been her saving grace several times in the heat of battle. She tucked it under her arm and reached for her sword, the extension of her arm that struck true time and again. All together she was ready for the challenges of a new day, and headed outside to face them.
The sunlight reflecting off her white armor nearly blinded the guard as she passed, though he was still able to point to the horse and cart that were waiting for her at the gate. It still felt a little strange to drive it alone but she had a job to do. Pausing once more to absorb the beautiful morning, she climbed up into the seat, took the reigns into her hands, and began her trek…