Lucia paused at the edge of the training yard, taking a short break from her afternoon errands to watch her maga spar with some of the men. A quick glance at the sun as it kissed the covenant walls told her that Vibria would be wrapping up her session soon, and she knew that Vibria would like a quick soak to relax before dinner. The young girl smiled to herself as she let her imagination wander, picturing Vibria inviting her into the tub with her to help her work out some of the knots in her arms and legs, then letting Lucia soap up her magnificent huge...
She shook her head quickly to snap herself back to reality. If there's one thing she'd learned about Vibria the past few months, especially after the embarrassment in Barcelona the Christmas before, it was that Vibria wasn't interested in her the way Lucia was in the maga, and never would be. She sighed and turned away to start her trek back to Vibria's sanctum when something on the archery range caught her eye.
Or someone, rather. For a split second, she thought that Vibria might have a twin sister who had joined. The same unmistakable silhouette as the woman quickly drew an arrow from her quiver, nocked, drew, and released. By the time the arrow thunked into the target, the woman was already drawing her next arrow.
Lucia glanced quickly back to the training yard and saw that Vibria was still engrossed in her sparring. Taking a deep breath, she approached the archer and watched quietly as she waited for her to finish.
The archer was almost as tall as Vibria, and almost as curvy, with a bust somewhere between where Vibria's was when she first met Lucia and where it was after her return from Vulcanus's errand. The archer's hair was straw blonde, just brushing her shoulders and well out of her eyes.
When the archer's quiver was empty, Lucia took a couple of steps closer. "Nice form," she said in Occitan.
"Thank you," the archer replied in the same tongue. "I wish I'd put more arrows on target, I'm not used to shooting at things that aren't moving."
She saw the questioning look on Lucia's face. "When I was growing up," she said with a smile, "I used to borrow my brother's bow and go hunting when I needed to get out of the house for a while. I got to be a pretty decent huntress."
Lucia grinned back. "Did your brother know you had borrowed his gear?"
The archer laughed. "No. That just got me in more trouble. Never bothered me much, though."
Lucia stuck our her hand in greeting. "I'm Lucia. I don't think I've seen you around, and your accent says you're not from around here."
The archer looked at Lucia's hand in surprise, then shook it carefully. "Call me Epona. And, yes, I'm new here, just arrived a few weeks ago. I just got fed up with everything at home and decided to leave while I could. I heard rumors of a place that would welcome people who were different, and wound up here."
Lucia shrugs. "I grew up here, so I guess I'm used to different people."
She walked alongside Epona as she went to the water barrel. "What was so wrong at home that it made you leave?" Lucia knew things were different out in the "mundane" world, but she had a hard time picturing what was so bad that people had to run away.
Epona filled a cup with water and took a quick sip. "My family kept trying to push me into a marriage, and I was having none of it. They finally pushed me too hard, I'd had enough, so I left."
"What was wrong with it?"
Epona looked at Lucia for a long minute before she finally answered. "Let's just say that men aren't exactly my thing."
Lucia nodded sagely. "I know exactly what you mean. They never did anything for me either." She looked back at the training yard and saw that Vibria was removing her dragon helm, which meant she'd be headed back to her sanctum soon.
"I have to get going," Lucia said apologetically. "My maga's finished her sparring and I need to go draw her bath. If you're not busy after dinner, I would love to meet you at the tavern and share some drinks, talk some more."
Epona smiled. "I'd like that."