“No! Don’t hold it like that Anath!” Tuga hoisted the bow to his shoulder. “Watch now.” Squinting his one good eye he focused on the mark and then he pulled back the bow releasing the arrow.
With a thud it hit the target dead center.
“Make the action smooth and sure.”
He watched the little girl cast a glance to where her father stood frowning in the distance as watched the children and youth being trained. Turga squatted down by the girl holding the girl and held the bow out to her. “Here, pretend I am showing you something very interesting about the bow.”
Brilliant blue eyes flashed up to his weathered face and seeing his small smile she relaxed.
“You show great promise little one. One day I think I would hesitate to face you in battle.”
“Is a powerful man who expects much from his children.” Turga sighed. “You must want to master the tools of the hunt if you want to please him. You, little one, must want it or it will never bring you contentment.”
“Alright students, let’s do that all over again!” He looked at Anath. “Now, show yourself what you can do.”
Anath watched the old man walk down the line of students as they hurried to prepare their bows and find the right arrows. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Opening them she saw her father lean forward intently. All around her she heard the other student’s bows singing as their arrows released. Shouts and claps erupted as some favored student hit the mark or one missed, but she tried to ignore them.
Taking a deep breath she pulled back –strong and sure – as Turga had instructed her. She focused on the target and suddenly felt she would know what would happen. She could see it in her mind.
The arrow flew from its notch sailing quickly and surely.
She saw her father lean forward as the arrow found its mark.
Other students rushed to congratulate her but she looked around for her father but he was still standing as he had been. He nodded almost absently as if merely responding to something the other man had said. Then he turned away to speak with someone else nearby. Then without a word he walked away and was lost in the crowd of people setting up for the market.
“Good shot, little one!” Turga spoke at her elbow with a laugh in his voice. She turned away from the place where her father had disappeared in the dust of the cattle. “Your father was impressed.”
“How can you tell? He never speaks or seems to see me at times.”
“I can tell because he sent me a message to continue your training and to expand it as well.”
She glanced up.
She glanced up.
“Your father was proud.”