Stories and Explanations

Arthur. Lila could only stare, amazed. After a moment, she remembered herself and bowed. She dared to peer at the king. He smiled gently, tiredly.

Lila introduced herself. Arthur replied in a jumble of Anglo-Saxon, and Lila had to ask him to repeat himself. He was patient. She learned that he thought her a noble – probably because she was clean and had soft hands – and wanted to know how she had ended up in here, wherever here was. She stumbled through a story of a bandit attack on her traveling party and how she was a foreign merchant’s daughter.

The claim of foreigner satisfied Arthur, and he gestured for one of his men to let her ride his horse. A dark-haired man clambered ungracefully off his horse and offered her its reins. More clumsy introductions yielded that he was called Emrys but not Sir. The men were surprised when she hoisted herself onto the horse without assistance, and she sighed, remembering what women were like in this era. What explanation could possibly earn her respect and not sexism?

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